2023 ImpacT Report
Growing Meaningful Careers: Seasons of Success
Growing  Meaningful Careers: Seasons of Success
2023 ImpacT Report
Growing Meaningful Careers: Seasons of Success
Growing  Meaningful Careers: Seasons of Success

It feels like the world is changing at a faster rate than ever before with exciting advancements in technology, shifting job markets and a growing emphasis on more diverse work experiences. What doesn’t change is what students need to be successful: resources, relationships and opportunities. 

We at Ready to Succeed (RTS) have a responsibility to listen, change and evolve so we can continue to meet these essential needs to prepare our Scholars for future careers. Thanks to your support, we continue to expand, offering individualized support throughout our Scholars' journeys—from joining our program and back-to-school to internships and graduation. 

The RTS Scholars achieve transformative outcomes, and we're excited to share them with you.

With Gratitude,

Pat McCabe and Romi Lassally, Co-Founders
By the
130 Scholars enrolled
35 Campus partners across California
172 RTS alumni
Growing Meaningful

RTS Scholars are full of potential, and are eager to launch meaningful careers. Your generous support has made it possible for them to participate in all phases of RTS' life-changing program. So, without further ado, we invite you to meet Georgette, Ajani, Sherrie, Jae and so many other remarkable Scholars as they prepare for both personal and career success.

Introducing Opportunity

Meaningful connections are at the heart of everything we do. Think about this: every year in California, over 4,000 former foster youth head off to college, often on their own. Now, 56% of college students are first-generation students, and they face unique challenges. But thanks to you, more and more former foster youth and first-gen college students are able to access career-building resources. And it all starts with our on campus partners. 

RTS staff members travel to campuses across Southern California to meet students and build new bridges. Each year our recruitment season starts with outreach during the summer, live applications in the fall, and acceptance into the program the next spring.

Kim G., UCLA ‘24, Business and Economics Major

Georgette S. joined Ready to Succeed in 2022 and will graduate from CSULB next year with a degree in Sociology. Georgette is a non-traditional student and returned to college for her degree in her 50s. Now, she is unstoppable! She is a vocal advocate for foster youth on campus and has helped connect her peers to valuable resources.

Georgette found that her passion is uplifting her community. After her internship this summer with National Center for Youth Law, she sees a future career in nonprofit advocacy work. Georgette says, “Before I joined RTS I felt like I had options, but now that I’m a part of RTS I feel totally prepared. To me, Ready to Succeed is like a path. You take one step, and that leads you to another step, and all those steps lead to success.”

Read More
“RTS pushed me to dream bigger and look beyond the surface for jobs. I feel confident that I can make a full-time career happen for myself post graduation.”
Student Focus

99 Applications received for the 2023-2024 cycle

9 Campus info sessions

Laying the Foundations for Success from Day One

RTS has two transformative programs for new and prospective Scholars. These two programs, Project Dorm Room and Camp Ready, ensure success from the outset of college. Before the start of the official school year, accepted RTS Scholars convene and connect at Camp Ready and incoming freshmen can get all the dorm room supplies they need at Project Dorm Room.

Project Dorm Room

Project Dorm Room started in RTS Board Member Tania Suster's garage in 2017 when she set out to provide dorm room essentials for 60 UCLA students. Fast forward to today, and Project Dorm Room has grown to 15 campuses and helped a total of 900+ foster youth.

“I broke into tears when I learned about Project Dorm Room because I couldn’t believe that people would want to help students like me,” she recalls. “When I went to pick up the supplies an older student who was also in the Bruin Guardian Scholars helped me move into my room.  It was like the feeling of love and support that you would get from a family, and it meant so much to me as I was just starting college.”

- Deborah, UCLA Graduate, RTS Alum

Nearly 30% of Ready to succeed scholars participated in project dorm room before joining RTS

Project Dorm Room: Coming to a town near you?

One person has the power to make a significant impact. While helping her children move into Arizona State University, Evalyne Cambron noticed that not all students had their families or the necessary supplies to get a head start. She reached out to Ready to Succeed, and that's how Project Dorm Room: Arizona was created.

RTS Staff member and Project Dorm Room lead Madison helps UCLA student Lily move into her dorm

Camp Ready

What is Camp Ready?

Camp Ready is a two-day career readiness camp for low-income college students with systems-impacted backgrounds. This year, 43 of the 50 incoming RTS Scholars spent two days together getting to know each other and building important career skills.

This year Camp Ready ended with a wonderful surprise. Thanks to funds secured by Congressman Ted Lieu and the Department of Education, Scholars going forward will receive a $5,000 annual basic needs scholarship.

Kim G., UCLA ‘24, Business and Economics Major

Ready to Succeed Scholar Ajani W. admits that he didn’t always think of himself as someone who would go to college. As a former foster youth, he didn’t grow up with many positive role models and always wanted to put the needs of others before his own. His uncle's insistence on education inspired him to make a change in his life.

Now a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara, Ajani reflects, "Choosing to attend college was the best decision I've ever made." Despite excelling academically and holding leadership positions on campus, he struggled to find his community until he attended Camp Ready.

"The experience was unlike anything I'd ever encountered. I formed connections with fellow students who shared similar backgrounds and experiences. I got to know them on a deeper level and learned valuable tips for crafting a successful resume. Camp Ready shifted my perspective," Ajani says.

Today, Ajani is enthusiastic about his future, self-assured, and has set ambitious goals to connect with professionals and kickstart his career.

Read More
“RTS pushed me to dream bigger and look beyond the surface for jobs. I feel confident that I can make a full-time career happen for myself post graduation.”
Building Real-World Experience

Internships provide hands-on experience that bridges classroom learning to the real world, boosting employability by 15% and earnings by 6%. For foster youth and other first-generation college students, internships are a crucial pathway to meaningful careers, financial independence and stability.

Ready to Succeed Scholars explore various careers and experiential learning opportunities to discover their strengths and passions. Your support ensures every qualified Scholar has access to a minimum of two paid undergraduate internships.

McCabe Service Fellowship Highlight

Ready to Succeed’s McCabe Service Fellowship program partners with local nonprofit and social benefit organizations. Fellows receive targeted experience and professional mentorship, and the organizations gain outstanding talent to further their missions.

25 Students

12 Nonprofit partners

$88,000 earned

4,780 Hours served

Kim G., UCLA ‘24, Business and Economics Major

Stepping Forward LA, an organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of young adults who have experienced foster care, has partnered with Ready to Succeed to prepare Scholars for the next phase of their career journey.

RTS Scholar and recent UCLA graduate Sherrie B. has always known that she was destined for greatness and overcame the odds stacked against her. As a former foster youth, Sherrie draws strength from her experiences and tells her story through creative expression. This past summer, she served as one of ten Ready to Succeed Fellows at Stepping Forward LA, where she honed her skills in marketing and communications.

“[At Stepping Forward] I was able to grow so much and do things I never thought I’d be able to do. I’ve never been in an atmosphere where you're being pushed but you’re also growing,” Sherrie reflects.

Sherrie's experiences and the connections she forged at Stepping Forward deepened her passion for pursuing a career in empowering and advocating for former foster youth.

“What I love to see is that the fellows really bloom and blossom and step out of their comfort zone. Ready to Succeed Scholars are ready to succeed and put in the hard work.” Beth Ryan, Founder and Executive Director of Stepping Forward LA, remarked.

Read More
“RTS pushed me to dream bigger and look beyond the surface for jobs. I feel confident that I can make a full-time career happen for myself post graduation.”
Beyond the Cap and Gown – A Journey of Continuous Growth

Graduation, for those foster and first-gen students who achieve it, is often bittersweet. They face unique challenges transitioning to the next phase of life, carrying the burden of financial instability, housing insecurity and limited resources. That’s why at Ready to Succeed graduation is not the end of the journey, but another step along the path to a fulfilling career.

Kim G., UCLA ‘24, Business and Economics Major

“Not many people know how difficult it was for me at the time, but I was really stressed out and worried that I was going to be homeless once I graduated with my degree from UCLA,” Jae says looking back.

As a former foster youth, Jae faced homelessness and instability growing up. Jae was connected to Ready to Succeed during his last semester in college, and he found mentors and support.

“Coming into RTS from the very beginning they just welcomed me with open arms. They helped me ask myself questions and dig really deep into what I’m good at and what I want to do. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t listened to my advisor, and been connected to so many people,” Jae recalls. Today, he's a Senior Administrative Analyst with the LA County Department of Mental Health + UCLA Public Partnership for Wellbeing.

Jae is now a mentor himself, offering the same warmth and respect he received from RTS. "To RTS supporters,” Jae says, “Thank you. You're changing worlds by changing one life, and that life continues to impact others.”

Read More
“RTS pushed me to dream bigger and look beyond the surface for jobs. I feel confident that I can make a full-time career happen for myself post graduation.”

In fiscal year 2023, RTS’s revenue doubled! Total revenue was $4,564,001 and our total expenses were $2,871,150.


*Please note, values are from unaudited financial statements. Audited statements will be posted once the annual audit is complete.

Mission, Board
and Staff

RTS empowers foster and first-generation college students to graduate college, launch successful careers and reach their full potential.

Romi Lassally,
Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director 
Patrick McCabe, Co-Founder, Co-Executive Director

Lucy Cherkasets, Director of Opportunities + Volunteers
Taos Glickman, Director of Data Analytics + Scholar Needs
Frances Hardy, Director of Development + Partnerships
Gina Ibrahim, Program Director

Jacquline Amezcua, Career Advisor
Christian Baer, Development Manager
Madison Braybrooke, Scholar Needs Advisor + Resource Manager
Zoe Fried, Senior Assistant Director, College Success
Adriana Gonzalez, Assistant Director, Scholar Recruitment
Natalie Guevara-Choto, Opportunities Advisor
Kaleema Ishmel, Operations Manager
Briana Lopez, Opportunities + Volunteer Advisor
Yadilena Martinez, Program Coordinator
Jazmin Navato, Career Advisor
Betsy Peña, Career Advisor

Emmanuel Benton
Natalie Catalan
Elizabeth Friedman
Jon Gimbel
Todd Kessler
Karen Kehela Sherwood
Tania Suster
Eddie Valcin
Deanne Yamamoto
Harriet Zaretsky

Special Board Advisor
Thomas Lee

We offer our sincere condolences to our board member Harriet Zaretsky and her family after the loss of her beloved husband, Steve Henry. Together Steve and Harriet founded the Dillon Henry Foundation.

Thank you for your continued support!
Gifts received July 1, 2022- June 30, 2023

Rand April
Antonieta Arango
Jay and Adriana Balaban
Melissa Balaban and Adam Wergeles
Howard Ballon
Ellen Bauer
Bradley Bell
Nadine Bell
Catherine and Robert Beyer
Jackie Beyer McCabe
Jennifer Blum
Diana Braun
Christopher Brereton
Jodi Gruber Brufusky
David Bryan
Jess Cagle
Jeff Campbell
Kathryn Chiba
Dan Coash
Michelle Cutler
Carrie Del Boccio
Arthur Engelland
Suzanne Gehl
Jon and Elana Gimbel
Michel Glouchevitch and Caroline Janda
Val and Rich Goldberg
David and Ruth Gorton
Pamela K Halle
Laurie and Chris Harbert
Susan Harris
Karen Heilman
Ken Hertz
Mike Homayounian
Cathy Huber
Jeff Hudson
Maggie Hunt
Allie and Kevin Irwin
Mary Ellen Kanoff
Neil Kapp
Susan Keeler
Karen Kehela Sherwood and Ben Sherwood
Todd Kessler and Sharon Hall Kessler
Jane Kim
Kathy Kloves
Blair Kohan
Susan Kohl
Jennifer Lee
Donna Leone
Jennifer Lewis
Diane Liebenson and Tom Duralde
Susan Lord
Ellen Mainthow
Patrick and Nancy McCabe
Will McCabe

Nancy Meidel
Christopher Meledandri
David Miner
Loren Montgomery and Dylan Clark
Kenneth Morgan III
Mark Mosch
Nicole and Alan Mutchnik
Elizabeth Padden
Patti and Greg Penske
Sarah Purcell
Audrey Prins
Jeff Raich
Anthony Rajasingham
Judith Rubin
Rae Sanchini
Peter Schlessel
Ronald Schwarz
Danny Seo
Tracy Seretean
Craig Shapiro
Elizabeth Shoemaker
Rosa and Bob Sinnott
Pat and Deb Stern
Tania and Mark Suster
James Thomas
Katherine and Douglas Thompson
Robert and Dorothy Tufo
George Wade
Cathy Watts
Leslie Weisberg
Tom Werner
Kathy and Roy Wickland
Anne Williams
Royce and Leslie Wilson
Paul Workman
Deanne Yamamoto Nii
Cindy Yoon
Harriet Zaretsky and Steve Henry

Foundation Partners
Angell Foundation
Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family  Foundation
Aramont Charitable Foundation
California Community Foundation
Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
Chuck Lorre Foundation
ECMC Foundation
Edward A And Ai O Shay Family Foundation
Herbert & Elaine Kendall Charitable Foundation
Johnny Carson Foundation
Lehman Hirsch Foundation
Los Angeles Women's Giving Circle
Otis Booth Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Ric and Suzanne Kayne Foundation
Reach Higher Foundation
SAM Initiative
The Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation
Segal Family United World Foundation

Thank YOU

Every effort has been made to include accurate and complete information. If you notice an omission or error, we’d love to hear from you.

Have any feedback regarding this report? Email christian@readytosucceedla.org

Are you ready to make a difference?
To learn more about our amazing Scholars and ways to get involved, visit www.readytosucceedla.org

If you know a Scholar who would benefit from our programming please contact adri@readytosucceedla.org

Visit Website

Every effort has been made to include accurate and completeinformation. If you notice an omission or error, we’d love to hear from you. 

Have any feedback regarding this report? Email christian@readytosucceedla.org

Are you ready to make a difference?
Learn more about our amazing scholars and upcoming programming, visit www.readytosucceedla.org 

If you know a Scholar who would benefit from our programming please contact adri@readytosucceedla.org