Southwest Airlines.

At Southwest Airlines, we consider ourselves much more than just a business; we are a neighbor in the community where you live. We have always believed in fostering genuine partnerships, especially partnerships that are committed to higher education and in making a difference for our San Diego students. In San Diego, Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) provides low-income, under-represented and first-generation college-bound students a wide array of support services and resources, including academic tutoring, college preparation, career exploration and more. Annually, 100 percent of BLCI’s high school graduates enroll in colleges/universities nationwide! We invite you to get to know them and see what a difference they are making in preparing our youth for college.

Preparing for College Success

Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) prepares disadvantaged students from some of our most underserved communities to become the first in their families to go to college. In Barrio Logan, only one in three adults over the age of 25 has a high school diploma and less than 3% have a bachelor’s degree. The average family of four survives on less than $25,000 a year. In response to these statistics, BLCI provides dynamic college-prep afterschool programming that starts in the third grade, follows students through to college graduation and prepares the whole family for college success.

Parents have to pledge 30 hours a year in service and training in order to have their children in this free program. They clean the facilities, bring food for the students and take workshops to learn to support their children’s college dreams at home or to go back to school themselves. Some parents learn how to read with the program, earn their GEDs and even enroll in online college courses through BLCI.

Over the past 20 years, 100% of BLCI’s high school graduates have enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide! The students often come back to help those following in their footsteps by volunteering, contributing financially or working for BLCI. High school and local college students in their leadership programs reach out to the larger community to promote civic engagement and the transformative power of a higher education. BLCI creates community around hope and educational success.

The organization relies on a variety of partners to provide the necessary resources the students and families need to succeed. Southwest Airlines has been a key partner of BLCI by providing students and families much needed transportation that they otherwise could not afford.

BLCI high school senior, Cristabel Otero, had a fortunate problem in her hands. She had worked hard to receive the coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship for disadvantaged students that covers her cost to attend any college all the way through to a graduate degree in certain high-demand fields, but she had to make an important choice of what school to attend and could not afford to visit college campuses. Cristabel had dreamed of being a Disney Imagineer and had her heart set on mechanical engineering. Thanks to Southwest Airlines, Cristabel was able to visit colleges that would support her dream.

BLCI high school junior, Omar Garcia, was thrilled to find out he had been accepted into a competitive leadership program at Stanford University, but was disappointed that the program did not offer transportation. Coming from a low-income family, Omar was ready to give up the opportunity. Thankfully, Southwest Airlines provided him a round trip ticket to take part in this transformative program.

“Participating in the Stanford Program encouraged me to apply there, and it was all thanks Southwest Airlines!” Omar happily exclaimed.

Finally, this summer BLCI leadership students will be visiting Washington DC to learn more about how to use their higher education to be agents of change in their community. Congressman Juan Vargas will be giving them a behind the scenes tour of the Capitol Building and Southwest Airlines is sponsoring their travel.

In 2015 BLCI received recognition locally, statewide and nationally and is now looking to expand. It has been replicated in the Castle Park community through the Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood Project and now serves close to 400 students from third grade through college and about 200 of their parents. None of this would be possible without the generous support of partners like Southwest Airlines who help transform communities one student at a time.