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College Access Plan Plans Casual, Laid Back Fundraiser Set for Saturday

Published on Sep 27, 2022

There will be no flowing gowns and sit-down dinner at this fundraiser. Unlike a typical gala, a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping prepare underserved PUSD students succeed in college is planning a fun, casual and laid back fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 1, in La Cañada Flintridge.

Claud Beltran of Bacchus’ Kitchen will be catering the event and attendees can expect really fun food that they can walk around and eat, said Mo Hyman, Co-founder and Executive Director of College Access Plan.

“This year’s concept is summer camp. And that means making friendship bracelets, and hanging out with friends, making smores and listening to campfire songs as well as a meaningful program that tells some campfire stories about our students, staff, and community. I think people should come because it’s fun,” Hyman said about the fundraiser.

Since 2006, College Access Plan in Pasadena has been aiming to provide equitable access to college education for PUSD students, serving a population that is largely first-generation college-going and low-income. 

As an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit, CAP strives to prepare underserved students to succeed in college. Their services range from assisting students and graduates with college applications, financial aid, navigating college life, and other forms of essential college preparatory access and success support.

Through partnerships with area school districts and local agencies, CAP provides no-cost college readiness advisement and topic-specific workshops on-site at high schools and middle schools, as well as to active CAP graduates that are now attending college. For years, CAP has worked with the Pasadena Unified School District. This year, the organization started a pilot program with the Hacienda La Puente School District.

“In middle school, we start with exploring students’ interests, careers they might be interested in, or at least what we call their superpowers: areas of deep interest that they might have,” Hyman said. “And then in high school, we support students with the nuts and bolts of the process of identifying schools and programs that they might wish to apply to, understanding the key differences between certificate programs, associate degree programs, bachelor’s degree granting programs, professional programs – all of those things.”

Hyman said schools in the Pasadena Unified and Hacienda Puente school districts are serving students that largely pay for outside services for college access and success, including writing and submitting college applications and understanding and accessing financial aid.

“So not only is our student population generally unable to pay for those services, but also has a greater need in understanding how to do all those things correctly and effectively because there is, of course, an invisible curriculum around college that only people who attended college understand,” she continued.

With the fundraiser, called CAmP, CAP will be selling $100 tickets for the event hosted in the backyard of a private home in La Cañada Flintridge. CAmP will feature tasty eats from Bacchus Kitchen in Pasadena, select wine and beer, and your favorite CAmP activities.

The group will also recognize donors in several categories – from Happy CamPer, for a $300 donation which includes two event tickets, recognition on the invitation and CAmP essentials; to Junior CAmP Counselor for $500, Senior CAmP Counselor for $1,000, and CAmP Director for $1,500, which includes eight event tickets plus recognition on the invitation and CAmP essentials.

Event proceeds up to $100,000 will be matched by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, supporting the Pasadena-based non-profit and other organizations throughout Southern California.

While college access and college preparation programs are free to students and parents, CAP explained they require funds to pay for some resources as well as to pay experts to do counseling and to assist students as they go through the college search and application process.

“Our cost driver is staff because this is work that takes experts. It’s not simply work that anybody can pick up and understand how to do,” Hyman said. “It’s very, very deep expertise in our area and in our field, particularly at this unique time as things are starting to change very swiftly in the college application and the financial aid landscape. So we fundraise in multiple ways to support our programs.”

For more information about how you can help CAP or attend the fundraiser, visit

CAmP will be from 4 to 7 p.m. The event location will be provided to ticketholders.

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