About Our Youth Programs Department
The Youth Programs Department at UCC serves approximately 2,000 students annually. Youth attending more than two dozen area high schools benefit from mentoring, meaningful volunteer service, financial education, academic guidance, and much more. Persistence programming—programs aimed at increasing student retention in college and ultimately degree completion—provides access for college students to academic, financial, and career advising in addition to opportunities for students to enhance their social and professional networks.
UCC is committed to minimizing juvenile crime and at-risk behaviors by collaborating with agency partners to create a safer Milwaukee. Through meaningful programs that help students students think critically about crime issues and community concerns, UCC encourages youth to avoid involvement in gang, crime, violent or delinquent activities. Students are empowered to attain the developmental assets needed to become competent, caring and healthy adults. UCC programs include opportunities for civic engagement, leadership workshops, and presentations by guest speakers and community leaders.
The UCC Youth Programs Department supports Bruce-Guadalupe and Acosta Middle School Alumni and aims to increase the college graduation rates of Latino students in Milwaukee to ultimately foster employment with family supporting wages and create a stronger Milwaukee community.
Youth and Pre-College Program participants engage in a number of personal developmental activities throughout the year that focus on five key areas of growth:
- Social-emotional health
- Academic Success
- Community Building
- Financial Literacy
The primary goal of UCC's Youth and Pre-College Programs is to increase the graduation rate of Hispanics in Milwaukee and encourage continued education beyond high school to improve the long-term earning power of each student. The significant outcomes include:
- A higher percentage of Hispanic students will gain entrance into the college/technical degree or apprenticeship program of choice.
- Students successful in high school and beyond will build a bridge to self-sufficiency for Hispanics.
- Future leaders of Hispanic origin will be nurtured to fill the existing gaps for such leadership.
The UCC Pre-College Program prepares students for the rigors of high school, supports them during secondary education, and facilitates entry into and success through college. Our staff provides students and their parents with the information, experiences, and support necessary for students to attain a college degree and pursue their chosen career path. Pre-college advisors serve students and families holistically by providing guidance for educational, personal, peer, and family matters.
From the onset of their involvement in UCC’s precollege programming, our students are working with college advisors and making plans for the next steps. 98% of BGCS alumni graduate high school, and 78% of last year’s alumni enrolled in two- or four-year higher education programs.
Program advisors are responsible for a single cohort of students and follow their cohort through all four years of high school.
This long-term case management approach allows advisors to build meaningful relationships with students, watch and help them grow as individuals, and provide the most appropriate resources for each student.
Role of Pre-College Advisors:
- Visit students regularly at their respective high schools
- Meet with school administrators and parents to ensure students are on track for graduation
- Host monthly workshops at the Berkes Alumni Center in The Spot
- Ensure that each student has all of the necessary tools to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities.
ACT Prep is a key component of the Pre-College Program. Juniors are encouraged to participate in a 6 week program in both summer and winter. Students can increase their ACT score by as much as 5 points by going through the program, resulting in significantly more financial aid and scholarship offerings from colleges and universities.
UCC College Network
The UCC College Network is a free professional preparation and mentorship program for Hispanic and minority college students in Milwaukee. This program has a goal of expanding the talent pool of young Hispanic and minority students successfully completing college degrees, becoming quality job candidates, and commencing promising professional careers.
- Program Advisors: Students are paired with program mentors who interact with them repeatedly during the semester and assist them with the development of an Individual Development Enrichment Action (IDEA) plan to meet their academic, financial, and career goals.
- Career Development: Participating students attend professional development workshops, where they learn everything from how to build professional resumes to how to prepare for job interviews.
- Career Coaches: During the professional development workshops, students are given opportunities to network with professional mentors who volunteer as career coaches, sharing advice and teaching soft business skills essential for success in the workplace.
- For students interested in joining the program, please contact Jeff Condit at email@example.com.
- For professionals looking to volunteer as career coaches, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All-Stars is an evidence-based program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UCC adopted the program in 2006 to prevent alcohol and drug use, postpone sexual activity, and reduce fighting and delinquency in middle school youth. In 2009 All-Stars expanded to also serve the high school population as students develop a path to college.
Students set personal goals and learn decision-making and stress-management skills as well as strategies for resisting peer pressure. The program culminates in a graduation ceremony in which students, in front of peers and prominent community members, commit to a goal-oriented lifestyle and avoidance of high-risk behaviors.
Youth Volunteer Corps
Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) is an exciting program designed to encourage and empower youth through volunteer service. YVC participants (8th-12th grade students) help lead UCC's 5-week summer recreation program.
By participating in the program, YVC participants will enjoy the benefits of:
- Leadership experience through community service
- 20 hours per week in volunteer service hours for future resumes and scholarship applications
- A summer full of excitement and recreational activities for teens
- Having the opportunity to build their community service portfolio
- The opportunity to participate in personal and professional training sessions
Partnering with Bruce Guadalupe Community School, the Peer Mentoring program gives high school and college students the opportunity to mentor elementary and middle school students in need of strong role models. Mentors are responsible for leading their young mentees through various workshops and games to develop resilience, self-esteem, and other valuable life skills.
The Life Skills curriculum is intended to engage students in thoughtful discussion and develop habits key to better social and emotional health. Led by staff trained specifically to deliver these concepts, students work together in groups to develop skills that help foster:
- Problem solving abilities
- Stress and anxiety management
- Emotional intellegence
Students gain skills necessary to meet personal challenges such as overcoming shyness, communicating clearly, building relationships, and avoiding violence. Students also build effective defenses against pressures to use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
In partnership with Marquette University, the Families Inspired Together and Youth Empowered to Succeed programs support middle school students and families to develop healthy exercise and nutrition habits. The program challenges family members to come together by exploring new physical activities and trying new, healthy foods.
Through increased fitness and healthier nutritional choices, the programs intend to reduce sedentary lifestyles and related comorbidities.
Jeff Condit - Program Director
Mr. Condit has been with UCC for the past 10 years. He currently serves as the Program Director for the UCC Youth Programs. Mr. Condit has held many roles within the agency including Fitness Director of the YES and FIT programs, BGCS Athletics Department Assistant Supervisor, Summer Recreation Program Supervisor, UCC College Network Advisor, High School Cohort Advisor and Youth and Precollege Programs Director.
In addition to supporting high school and college students with their studies and career exploration, Jeff enjoys coaching the UCC cross country running, triathlon, and mountain bike teams.
Claudia Rivera - Pre-College Advisor
As a first generation college graduate, Ms. Rivera is an advocate for first generation, low-income high school and college students. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Ms. Rivera worked as a Peer Advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Advising Resource Center at UW-Oshkosh, where she developed a passion for education.
Ms. Rivera stays active in the community, serving on the UW-Milwaukee Undocumented Student Task Force, Mount Mary's Latina Advisory Board, volunteering for the Mexican Fiesta Educational Forum and coaching the UCC 5th-6th grade girls basketball team.
As a pre-college advisor for UCC, she is committed to helping students discover their talents and guiding them to achieve their academic and career goals.
Raymond Rivera- Student and family Intervention Specialist
Mr. Rivera began working at UCC in 2003 as a Youth Development Coordinator within the Youth Programs department. Mr. Rivera has been working with inner city youth since 1985 and brings a wealth of knowledge to the UCC Youth Programs Department. In 2005, he facilitated All Stars, a drug and alcohol prevention program that continues today. Mr. Rivera also facilitates Life Changers, a program which promotes anti-drug and anti-violence strategies to youth and adults in a talk show setting. Additionally, he collaborates with city officials, local law enforcement and youth in order to bring awareness regarding community issues that affect our south side residents.
Most recently, he has launched a parent support group to help build strong families and bridge the gap between youth and their parents. Raymond has a passion for helping youth and their families grow in a holistic manner and loves to prepare youth for their future endeavors.
Nancy Segura - Pre-College Advisor
Nancy is a Pre-College Advisor with the department and currently works with the 2021 cohort. Nancy is a living product of the Pre-College program at UCC. She attended BGCS from K4 all the way through 8th grade. From there she attended Dominican High School, participating in Pre-College program activities. Upon graduating High School, Nancy interned in the Marketing Department at UCC while attending UWM. After graduation, she discovered a perfect opportunity to work full-time with UCC in the Pre-College Department.
Nancy's past advisor in the Pre-College program had such a lasting impact that she decided to give back to the community that gave her so much. Nancy looks forward to helping students prepare for higher education and to become strong, independent individuals.
Zeci Roman - Pre-College Advisor
Zeci graduated in 2017 from Mount Mary University with a degree in Political Science and Psychology and a Certificate in Peacebuilding. After graduation, she joined College Possible, working as a high school coach at St. Anthony and St. Thomas More High Schools. During that time, she taught ACT prep courses, creating strong bonds with her students.
Zeci joined UCC in the summer of 2018 as a Summer Rec. Group Leader for rising 8th grade students, while pursuing her Masters Degree in Public Service at Marquette University.
As a first generation Latina to graduate with a Bachelors and Masters Degree, she understands the sacrifice it takes to achieve a quality education. Zeci is excited to apply the many skills and lessons gained in her educational and professional experiences to ensure students have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Sebastian Daniel - Pre College Advisor
Sebas has a demonstrated history of working in the arts, education, and yourth mentorship and community organizing.
He graduated from Marquette University, while also attending classes at Pontifical Universidad Catolica De Chile in 2015 and Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2012.
His educational experience includes working at St. Francis Children's Center, La Causa, TRIO's Upward Bound program, Milwaukee College Prep, and Nativity Jesuit Academy, where he focused on improving the retention and graduation rates of Latino males through strategic programming and alumni engagement.
Sebas is passionate about social justice and has had the privilege to collaborate with individuals and organizations at the local, national and international level in efforts to aid in the advancement and empowerment of oppressed communities through direct action, workshop facilitation, and event planning and curation.
Sebas is currently part of a Latin Hip Hop Duo, Browns Crew. He looks forward to connecting with UCC students and their families and is excited to serve as a resource for them!
Rich Dorn - Pre-College Advisor
Rich Dorn is a Pre-College advisor in charge of coordinating the UCC ACT Prep Program, and takes great pride in being a member of the UCC Pre-College/ Youth Programs team. Academic advising is Rich's specialty. He enthusiastically encourages individuals to take ownership of their education, to develop a strong work ethic, explore a variety of career options and pursue vocations economically and affordably. It is Rich's objective to help our BGCS and UCC Acosta students realize their dreams, aspirations and potential.
Educational qualifications include: BA in Sociology; MSW is Social Work, Master's Equivalent License in Guidance and Counseling, and a Certificate in School Social Work.
Rich is happily married to AnnMarie, a Spanish teacher at STM. They live with their three boy cats, Xavi, Messi, and Simba.
His motto is " Be grateful for every day! Do more daily!! Do everything with excellence!!!"
Mari Cevilla - Parent and Family Advocate
As a mother of three, Mrs. Cevilla has learned the ins and outs of the educational system present in the South Side of Milwaukee. BGCS and UCC have given Mrs. Cevilla a community to call home. She has worked at BGCS fsince 2011, beginning as the Parent Advocator for the YES Program. Now known as the FIT Program (Families Inspired Together), this program gives her the opportunity to not only integrate families together but also find new resources to encourage better communication between students and their families. In the newly developed Parent Wellness Circles, families learn and encourage each other to maintain balance in their lives emotionally and spiritually.
According to Mari " Thanks to the program, I have been able to develop and maintain strong relationships with the families and staff at BGCS and UCC."