What We Do
Oakland, California is one of the first sanctuary cities in the United States. Making up over a quarter of its residents, Oakland is home to to a growing population of immigrants. Consequently, the number of immigrant students in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has grown from 1,299 students in 2013 to 2,862 students in 2018, a 55% increase in immigrant youth in the past five years alone.
Over the past decade, OUSD has worked to provide students with the technology that a modern day education demands, and today, every student is given a laptop to supplement their K-12 curriculum. But as students graduate high school, the laptops are recycled back into the district for other students to use. This leaves young high school graduates without the necessary resources to pursue a higher education and has a deeper impact on students whose legal status deems them ineligible to receive federal student aid, leaving many to fall behind on their desired educations.
Migrant Advocacy Project (MAP) aims to break down the barriers immigrant youth face in their pursuit of higher education through the MAP Scholars Program, an initiative that improves digital literacy and promotes inclusion of immigrant youth at post-secondary institutions. This summer, ten graduating high school seniors from OUSD will participate in MAP’s digital literacy workshop series consisting of eight classes over a two-month period. The program’s core curriculum will focus on the following: email etiquette, responsible use of social media and creating professional online presences, navigating academic databases such as PubMed and LexisNexis for research purposes, and creating resumes and other professional documents. Our program will help students develop the skills needed to be responsible digital citizens and give them transferable skills that translate directly to educational and professional settings. Upon completion of the course and proof of enrollment at a post-secondary institution, all MAP Scholars will be awarded an Apple Macbook Pro with AppleCare Protection.
Unlike most merit-based programs of its kind, the MAP Scholars Program refuses to use a GPA requirement. By doing away with this traditional measure of success, MAP redefines what it means to be a scholar. MAP Scholars are high school graduates who are leaders — students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and a deep commitment to learning, but more importantly, show a willingness to give and seek help as demonstrated by their familial obligations and community involvement. By recognizing students for their strengths, both inside and outside the classroom, MAP works to level the playing field for all youth who have a desire to succeed in college and beyond.
MAP’s success lies in the diverse skill sets of each member of our majority-minority team, consisting of both working professionals and undergraduate students. By supporting the Migrant Advocacy Project, together, we can break down educational barriers and provide access to resources and opportunities for students.