Miguel Contreras Learning Complex


Welcome Cobras!

The GEAR UP staff has been really happy working with the Class of 2017 and 2018. Since 2013 we have been providing services to our youth in counseling, tutoring, parent workshops, college visits, peer mentoring, professional development and concurrent enrollment to succeed in high school and prepare for college. Students, remember to get good grades to be able to participate in different opportunities. We have many resources to help you stay or get on track. The GEAR UP team is here for you! So, stop by at any time to the GEAR UP Office on the 2nd floor (right before you cross the bridge), even if it’s just to say hello! We love seeing your faces!

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Our peer mentor program develops leadership qualities, strengthens public speaking skills, and trains students to become role models for their peers and advocates for their community. As mentors, students reach out to their peers and families with the premise that if individual students have the opportunity to climb the ladder of success, they will bring their families and communities along with them.


  • serve as a leader and role model to your peers
  • get fellow students excited about school and learning
  • attend regular meetings to build your leadership skills
  • encourage your fellow students to do well in their classes
  • become a better public speaker


To be a peer-mentor, students must have a 2.0 GPA or higher, a teacher/staff recommendation and parent permission. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, complete the online application.  Please stop by the GEAR UP office if you need help completing the application.

Click the button below to fill out an application!


FOR TEACHERS AND STAFF: If you think a student has what it takes to be a mentor, fill out a recommendation form by clicking on the button below!


Upcoming Events


Our Staff

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

  • Nancy Scher


    • College: Bradley University Peoria , Illinois (BA) California State University Los Angeles (MA)
    • Favorite Movie: Clockwork Orange
    • Favorite Food: BBQ ribs
    • My biggest influence: Going away to college and learning what I could do without my parents and friends from high school.
    • Why I love my job: 1) Making a difference in our students’ lives.  2) Having an opportunity to help students be the best that they can be.  3) Supporting students to meet and exceed the goals they have set for themselves.
  • Vanessa Almonte

    Assistant Site Coordinator

    • College: University of California, San Diego (BA); University of Southern California (currently)
    • Favorite Movie: Pan’s Labyrinth
    • Favorite Food: My mom’s enchiladas.
    • My biggest influence: My biggest influence is my lovely mom. Her strength and hard work as a single mother has always been the reason why I always push myself to pursue my dreams. I’ve learned to use both negative and positive times as life lessons, as something to grow from. She has taught me to be kind, strong and to always be myself. It is because of her unconditional love for me and my siblings that I am the person I am today.
    • Why I love my job: A lot of the youth in our community don’t always realize how much they are capable of. Working with this program has allowed us to be that voice that reminds them to “just keep swimming” no matter how hard the situation might be. We have the opportunity to help these students get closer to their dreams no matter their G.P.A and that is the greatest blessing of all.
  • Angelica De La O


    • College: University of California, Los Angeles (BA), University of La Verne (MA)
    • Favorite Movie: The Kite Runner
    • Favorite Food: Chinese Food
    • My biggest influence: Throughout all my years in school, elementary, middle school and high school, my teachers supported me and told me I was smart. Their positive influence helped me believe in myself and pursue college.
    • Why I love my job: I believe everyone should have an opportunity to attend college, no matter where you live, how much money you have, or where you go to school. I truly believe that the education is the great equalizer in life and the path to a better future.
  • Lesly Garcia

    Community Representative

    • College: Los Angeles City College (AA)
    • Favorite Movie: Princess Mononoke
    • Favorite Food: Chinese Food
    • My biggest influence: My mom because she taught me to be strong, honest respectful, humble and loyal, just as she was.
    • Why I love my job: I love my job because I know I’m making a difference in students’ and parents’ lives.  I also love working with my office team.