By Veronica Terriquez, John Rogers, Alejandra Vargas-Johnson and Caitlin Patler
Since 2001, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)’s Wise Up! program has organized high school students in Los Angeles to address immigrant rights issues affecting their communities. Wise Up’s youth organizing has produced tangible gains. Members build empowered relationships with community leaders and public officials and acquire critical thinking and civic skills as they attend workshops, take part in regular meetings, and participate in campaigns.
This report described how Wise Up! contributes to the postsecondary educational attainment and civic engagement of members after they leave high school. Specifically, it compared the experiences of young adults who were members of Wise Up! while in high school with a group of young adults from similar demographic backgrounds who never participated in youth organizing. The central finding of this report was that Wise Up! alumni were far more likely than comparable peers across California to enroll in four-year colleges and universities and engage in various civic activities in early adulthood.