Best of the Bay 2011: BEST GRADUATION GUIDANCE

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Without a parent who has been through the applications, intense study schedules, and patently awful cafeteria food, getting through college can seem like a tough circus to ringlead for many high school students. Studies show that scholarly parents are a big factor in kids' academic success. That's why we give props to First Graduate, a nonprofit founded in 2000 that guides first-generation, university-bound students through a decade of life. From seventh grade all the way through college graduation, the low-income kids receive monetary support, tutoring, counseling, and career exploration opportunities. So far, 100 percent of participants have conquered high school and made it to year two of university — surely something that's worth tossing those tassels in the air.

37 Graham, SF. (415) 561-3450, www.firstgraduate.org