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Family Engagement Institute

Youth Engagement

CDA Student with Children

The FEI intern and mentor model provides first-generation youth with valuable service leadership opportunities, allowing them to develop a deeper awareness of the community historically marginalized communities they serve, and the ability to grow and learn under the mentorship of experienced educators. Students broaden their understanding of family engagement, social justice, and child development, and gain skills in communication and collaboration, critical thinking, growth mindset, cultural competency and leadership.

Opportunities include the Child Development Academy and year-round internships where students assist faculty and staff with all aspects of programming, from office work to community-based work. These experiences open doors for first-generation students to develop the skills essential to workforce development.


58% of all students are not well prepared for college, with specific groups less likely to be ready for college due to structural racism, unstable living situations, and other barriers. (Children Now Report Card 2020)

Only 9%  of low-income students will complete a 4-year degree compared to 77% of affluent students ("Educators: For first generation college students, getting accepted can be the least of their challenges," Mercury News).

FEI Response

First-Generation Youth Mentorship Service Leadership Opportunities such as the Pathways, Exposure, Academic Connection & Knowledge (PEAK) program, Child Development Academy, and year-round office and community-based Internships.

FEI Impact

Mentored and provided leadership opportunities for more than 400 first-generation, college-bound local youth.

Youth Outcomes

Critical Thinking, Decision Making, & Creativity

94-97% agreed they improved decision-making skills, brainstorming solutions and considering multiple perspectives.

Communication & Collaboration

95-100% agreed they learned new strategies to work as a team; are able to give and receive feedback.

Growth Mindset & Initiative

94-100% agreed they can view mistakes as learning opportunities; are more reflective learners; are inspired to work harder to pursue dreams.

Cultural Competency & Social Justice

94-100% agreed they feel more connected with people of varied backgrounds and cultures; are more interested in educational equity issues; are making a difference in their community.

Community Leadership

92-99% agreed they are more likely to be a leader in their community; learned ways to support their family, school or community; have more confidence in themselves.

My internship was an eye-opening experience. I learned so much from the children and families. They taught me the importance of culture, self-identity, and most importantly, the power of education.

– High School Student Intern


The Family Engagement Institute has deepened my understanding of the mutual responsibility and accountability among students, their families, and their communities to ensure academic success and expand opportunity. FEI has provided a space for me to exercise my leadership in my community, strengthen my cultural awareness and, ultimately, to discover my passion to support underrepresented communities in higher education.

– FEI College Student Intern

Equity Hope Courage Collaboration

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Family Engagement Institute



Student Resource Center, Building 5400 Room 5420