Honoree Team 2015 – GetSet Lead Team

Congrats to GetSet Lead Team for being honored as an outstanding team of volunteers!

Team Name:  GetSet Lead Team

Team Members:  Dan Hwang, Michael DeSouza and Kyle McCarthy

Nominating Organization:  PIMCO

Honoree Category:  Corporate

Why Nominated:  In 2012, PIMCO Product Management associate Dan Hwang decided to put his skills to use – for good. He recruited a handful of volunteers and asked PIMCO Foundation staff for help in getting matched to a local high school. Fast forward to October 2012: Dan and his team of volunteers started trekking to NOVA Early College High School in Santa Ana on a weekly basis to deliver a college readiness workshop. At the end of the five-week program, the NOVA students had completed their personal statements, updated their resumes, and figured out which teachers could write their recommendation letters.

Dan and team kept going to NOVA and kept making an impact throughout 2013.

When the PIMCO Foundation was ready to make college readiness a firm-wide priority in 2014, Dan was ready and willing to be a project lead, as were fellow Product Management colleagues Michael DeSouza and Kyle McCarthy. In November 2014, the PIMCO Foundation launched a new skills-based volunteer opportunity for PIMCO employees: GetSet, a college readiness program designed to expand college access for juniors at Saddleback and Valley High Schools in Santa Ana.

The need is great for this kind of program:
83% of all Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) students are on the free or reduced lunch program

26% of all SAUSD students that graduate high school are eligible to attend a four-year university

For every 2,300 students in SAUSD, there is one higher education coordinator to help them navigate college access

Dan, Michael and Kyle, while juggling their intense workload, managed to strategize lesson plans, train and equip volunteers, and lead the five-week pilot sessions at Saddleback and Valley. Serving as mentors and coaches in an extremely hands-on, interactive setting, PIMCO employee volunteers reviewed resumes, letters of recommendation, assisted in the creation and editing process of personal statements, among other “to do’s.”

“The primary goal of GetSet is to help underprivileged high school students with their resumes, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. I was ecstatic to see the program launch because of the importance of this type of skills-based course for students going through the college application process. GetSet has continued to expand each year thanks to all the PIMCO volunteers willing to devote their time and resources to this cause,” said Dan.

Dan, Michael and Kyle were instrumental in ensuring each of the 40 PIMCO volunteers who participated in the pilot session ran with the same mission in mind: To build trust and a college aspiration, and to provide support so that college can become a tangible and attainable goal for under-resourced students.

PIMCO’s GetSet program would simply not be what it is today without Dan, Michael and Kyle. Kudos to the three of them, and all our amazing PIMCO GetSet volunteers!

Please write a note of congratulations below!

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