Youth Organization – First Gen Scholars
Jonathan Burgos is Founder and Executive Director of First Gen Scholars, a 501(c) 3 whose mission is to provide superior support to underserved first-generation high school students in San Diego by navigating them through the college application process and mentor them throughout college towards a prosperous career.
Jonathan founded First Gen Scholars in 2019 with 26 students in South San Diego, expanding city-wide in 2020 to serve 78 students from 13 high schools and 11 different ethnicities. In addition, he spent 15 years (primarily in City Heights through Cardinals Interact) creating a college essay-writing curriculum that helps applicants share their authentic stories. Jonathan has helped hundreds of students get into some of the most elite colleges in the United States, with most students graduating with zero to little debt.
He attended UCSD and graduated with a degree in Sociology. It was there where he met his wife of 20 years, Laurie. They have two children, 13 year old Theo (a black belt) and 10 year old Penelope (a Girl Scout cookie selling machine!) Jonathan considers his family his “why” as he does First Gen Scholars. He was a first generation student himself and almost did not graduate college without the help and support from others. This is what motivated him to start his own non-profit.
He says a personal health scare in 2015 and the current pandemic has taught him two things: to be appreciate everyday of his loved ones, and that “it is not about what I have, but what I have to give in terms of my heart, my time and my energy.”
Mia Harenski, Massey Pitts and David Oates were his sponsors.