Empower and Educate At-Promise Youth
What We Do

In Long Beach alone, there are nearly 8,000 children living in poverty. Students from low-income families are more than twice as likely to drop out of school which is detrimental to their future. It increases the likelihood of committing a crime and imprisonment, being unemployed, and living below the poverty line.

BLAST was founded 22 years ago on the dream of providing academic and personal mentorship to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth in Long Beach. BLAST works year-round to help over 1,000 at-promise youth to learn basic life skills, goal setting, character development, establishing meaningful connections, and academic success.

Moving forward, we will continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments where at-promise youth can thrive.

Long Beach BLAST

Our Programs
Academic Mentoring

The Academic Mentoring Program (AMP) matches college students with youth, one-on-one, to support the youth’s academics, character development, and future thinking.

Academic Mentoring with a Purpose

A BLAST “Academic Mentor” is a trusted and influential college student who is also a consistent, caring, and committed role- model to a younger student. Although BLAST does not provide in-home services, we do partner with a number of schools and community-based sites in the greater Long Beach area which kindly host our college student volunteers and provide a safe, nurturing environment designed to empower and inspire students of all ages. Additionally, we also offer fully online, virtual mentoring. Through patient guidance and positive role modeling, BLAST volunteers are able to emphasize the importance of academics and encourage their mentee’s success.

Each year our Academic Mentoring Program strategically pairs hundreds of college students with at-promise youth, one-to-one, and is uniquely equipped to foster relationships that work towards academic gains, strengthen character development, and encourage higher education and future success.

Youth in the program, and those on our waiting list, are referred by principals, teachers, school counselors, and after-school program directors for academic assistance, building healthy relationships, and goal setting. For parents choosing to refer their children, please reach out to support@lbblast.org.


Long Beach BLASTOne of our AMP Mentors, Emily, is a student from CSULB and has disclosed that she has a disability. Initially, she was afraid that this would hinder her ability to effectively mentor, but this was quite the opposite. During the mentor training, she asked many questions and was very engaged in the discussions, which showed how passionate she was about mentoring youth. After working with our AMP Program Coordinator, Emily has gone above and beyond her duties as a mentor to prepare with and add additional activities to the AMP Activity Binder, so that she can further connect with her mentee. After the first week, the mentee’s parent reached out to the AMP team to let them know how inspiring Emily has been to her daughter and how well the mentoring sessions have been going.

There are many highlights from how mentees have grown through the AMP program, but it has been a welcomed joy for the AMP team to experience an early inspirational story from an outstanding mentor.

Bridge To Success
    • Program Overview: The Bridge to Success (B2S) Program helps at-promise students create a positive vision for their future towards a career and/or higher education. The classroom-based program uses a life skills curriculum (consisting of 8 modules) and ancillary services to encourage and inspire students to set and achieve goals. These program components work together to help youth attain knowledge and develop skills needed to succeed personally, academically and professionally.
    • Modules: Personal and Cross-cultural Awareness; Personal Well-being; Skills for Success; Goal Setting; Higher Education; Post-secondary Exploration; Employment Education; Financial Literacy
    • Ancillary Services: Middle School (High School Pathways Planning), High School (Post-secondary Planning), Professional guest speakers, College tours and educational field trips, College & Career Fairs, Access to Resources

This narrative is from one of our Bridge to Success College & Career Advisor, Kassandra Sandoval, at Reid High School. It was a slow process to build a relationship with Johnny, a senior at Reid High. He has always been polite, respectful, and an active participant in class. However, I could sense that he was wise beyond his years. Through fragments in writing assignments, I knew that he had been through some tough situations. It was not until we sat down to talk about his aspirations and his life that I understood just how much he had experienced. I told him he could share with me as much as he was comfortable with. When sharing about his life, I stated to him that we could focus on academics rather than his personal life. Johnny replied he was fine being open about everything.

He has seen more than most adults will ever see or navigate in their lifetime; abandonment, being homeless and living on skid row, poverty, addiction, and trouble with the law. He has truly seen it all, and yet, he continues to push himself to be better every day by coming to school and working hard to stay on the right track. I don’t think he realizes how admirable this is, given everything he has experienced at such a tender age. Johnny wants to go to college but worries about facing academic and emotional challenges. Despite his fears, he has enrolled at LBCC, and his career interests are in business, politics, real estate, and stocks. He wants to make a difference in the community and aspires to run for political office. Johnny feels that with his life experience this would make him a good candidate that personally knows what it’s like to face many of these challenges we are facing today, like homelessness. He would like to continue to share his story, not for sympathy, but for people to have a better understanding of the plight homeless individuals face.

When asked to share his thoughts on BLAST. Johnny replied that BLAST offered him valuable information and helped him with college and financial aid enrollment. To my surprise, he added, “Besides all the college stuff, you’ve helped me in a personal way more than anything.” He valued our conversations more than what we were tangibly able to help him with. I enjoy coming to work every day, so students like Johnny, who don’t always have much of a support system at home, know that they have one with BLAST. When working with Johnny on his resume, we were thinking of words that best describe him. He stated, “I can’t think of any, Miss.” I asked, “How about ‘perseverant’?” His eyes lit up, and a big smile came over him, “Yeah, Miss, we can use that one.”

Johnny’s words: “BLAST is a class I’ve benefitted from personally and educationally. Although unfortunately, I don’t have this class all day, I’ve learned a lot about how to handle confrontations and handle any general relationship. Ms. Kassandra herself gave us a lesson on financial issues and how to handle them. She explained every step of how to introduce yourself in a job interview, how to make resumes, how to dress up, etc. I genuinely believe BLAST helps me and will help other people in the future.”

Johnny has experienced many hardships. He is a true testament of resilience and an example of how we can make a big difference in the life of our youth. I have no doubt Johnny will continue to work hard and enjoy a favorable future.

Long Beach BLAST
4201 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 201
Long Beach, CA 90807

(562) 437-7766

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Long Beach BLAST is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to Long Beach BLAST are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The tax identification number for Long Beach BLAST is 33-0967215.