Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI).

Maria enrolled her sons in Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI) in third grade to secure a more prosperous future. She only had a fifth-grade education, but she had heard that this college prep, afterschool program for underserved children had a 100% success rate of sending its students to college.

Jonathan “Johnny” Martinez, Maria’s son, loved the program until his teenage years brought new distractions. He began to focus on friends and other influences that detracted from his goals. In 8th grade, he dropped out of the program and his grades began to slip. Before he knew it, his college opportunities were fading, until Tony Garcia, BLCI’s High School Specialist, began to mentor Johnny to rekindle his interest in college and in BLCI. It worked! Johnny decided to rejoin the program, but with a vengeance.

Johnny recently co-chaired the Communities Converse Conference (CCC), a BLCI student-run conference that inspires youth to discuss issues affecting their community and encourages them to take action by registering to vote, educating others and interacting with their public officials. The conference hosted more than 140 community members over two days of cultural celebration, thought-provoking speeches and in-depth discussions on what is ailing San Diego’s most vulnerable communities. Johnny came to understand the true power of higher education.

“My teachers always told me that education was important, but BLCI taught me why. I want to use my education to improve my community,” Johnny shared with Giving Back Magazine. He is back on track for college, but now he is going in with a sense of purpose.

BLCI serves over 560 students like Johnny across four sites, providing them the inspiration to improve their outlook on life and the conditions of their communities. You can support kids like Johnny by going to and getting involved.