The second-ever Envision U took place at Santa Clara University last week. Over 100 scholars, Legacy Leaders, and team members came together for a week of connection, learning, networking, college readiness, and making memories!

“Ultimate excites! Hope Ignites!” – Team chant during the Ultimate Frisbee demonstration


Last week, close to 100 of our rising high school senior scholars, collegians, and staff members gathered at Santa Clara University for Envision U, a week-long event designed to encourage scholars to explore their passion, purpose, and future pathways with a focus on college readiness!

Sixty-five scholars came from Phoenix, Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis to spend the week in the residence hall at Santa Clara University. For many, this was their first flight and their chance to travel away from home independently and get a taste of what college will be like when they graduate in a year. Twelve alumni also took the trip to help and offer guidance for the scholars as Legacy Leaders.

We are grateful to Santa Clara University for their incredible partnership and hospitality!

Envision U kicked off with a demonstration from the Ultimate Frisbee Association – and the chance to play a game! The UFA is the premier professional ultimate league in the United States. Players from the Oakland Spiders and the Bay Area Falcons demonstrated basic Ultimate skills, explained how the game works, and showed our scholars a great time while underscoring the teambuilding and camaraderie of sports! This amazing bonding activity helped scholars make friends with their peers from other affiliates. Thank you to our board chair Rob Lloyd, Chairman & Managing Member for Ultimate Frisbee Association, for arranging such a fun activity!

Send it! Learning the basics of Ultimate Frisbee with the Bay Area Falcons and Oakland Spiders, members of the Ultimate Frisbee Association


The second day of Envision U began with a trip to Cisco in Silicon Valley, where scholars toured the amazing high-tech facility and learned about Artificial Intelligence, hybrid work, Cisco innovations, and the rapid pace of technological development. Jim Grubb, Chief Technology Evangelist at Cisco, kicked off the presentations with a look at the history and future of technology, the risks and opportunities ahead, and the need for responsible and creative leaders from the next generation to lead.

We extend our gratitude to Jason Pernell, Boys Hope Girls Hope Board member and Worldwide Vice President of Go-to-Market Sales Operations at Cisco, who shared his life experience as the first in his family to take many important steps and offered tips on how scholars can build a meaningful career in technology.

Jim Grubb, Chief Technology Evangelist at Cisco, spoke to Boys Hope Girls Hope scholars about the rapid pace of technological innovation in the age of AI.

Establishing a network of support is crucial, and scholars at Envision U learned how effective networking skills can provide opportunities to build positive relationships with others. Our Networking Night began with an overview of networking tips and tricks from a skilled group of panelists from our partner organization, Edward Jones, including David Amman, Benito Barillas, Travis Benjamin, and BHGH alum and Edward Jones team member, Juan Carbajal. Scholars learned that the best way to effectively network is to make the other person feel seen, heard, and remembered.

Scholars then had the opportunity to put into practice what they’d learned, meeting and connecting with Silicon Valley executives, Boys Hope Girls Hope board members, and other professionals and friends of Boys Hope Girls Hope. Both our scholars and our invited guests enjoyed the opportunity to learn and connect.

Scholars all dressed up for Networking Night!

Legacy Leaders and team members at Networking Night during Envision U!


From applications to essays to financial aid, there are several steps to navigate when applying to college. On Wednesday at Envision U, our scholars received helpful tips from admissions counselors across the country!

Many admissions leaders present for the event were first-generation students and shared their experiences and knowledge. Admissions leaders collaborated with each other to bring the most value to the students. They led sessions on the complicated admissions process and recent changes for college diversity, college funding, and more. After receiving helpful tips, scholars put their networking skills and college admissions knowledge to work at a college fair on Santa Clara University’s campus. Boys Hope Girls Hope expanded the impact of this invaluable day by inviting youth from other Bay Area organizations to take part in the admissions fair and seminars.

We thank the following schools for being a part of our event: Santa Clara University, University of Denver, Washington University in St. Louis, Tulane University, University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, Georgian Court University, Emerson College, Washington State University, Smith College, Saint Louis University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College, Middlebury, St. Olaf College, Wake Forest University, Arizona State University, Saint Mary’s College of California, and University of San Francisco.

On Wednesday evening at Envision U, scholars enjoyed a movie night viewing Gringos at the Gate, a documentary focusing on Mexico and the United States during the 2010 soccer World Cup Qualifiers and the 2011 World Cup Final. The film explores the rivalry between the two countries, differences in wealth and political power, and raises questions with Mexican Americans on identity, family ties, loyalty, and culture.

After viewing the film, scholars heard from Michael Whalen, the film’s director and Santa Clara University professor, along with other panelists: Jerry Smith, coach of the Santa Clara University women’s soccer program, Mailin Orozco, an SCU soccer player and a member of the U20 Mexico National Team, and Scarlett Camberos, a player for the Bay FC and Senior Mexico National Team.


Scholars on the ferry heaading to Alcatraz!

After working hard all week, scholars at Envision U spent Thursday sightseeing in San Francisco!

The day began with a tour of the infamous Alcatraz, the prison island that has been a National Park since 1972. Scholars took an audio tour of the prison, saw where famous gangsters were incarcerated, and took in the stunning views of San Francisco from outdoor areas of the main complex.

Next, after a quick and scenic ferry ride back to the mainland, scholars visited beautiful Crissy Field Beach, overlooking the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. Sticking their bare feet in the warm sand, scholars enjoyed lunch in the beautiful sunshine and some free time to soak up the rays.

The final stop of the day was Chinatown, where scholars were free to explore in groups, do some shopping and sightseeing, and enjoying the colorful sights!

This trip was more than just a fun excursion – scholars broke out of their comfort zones, experienced new things, exposed themselves to different cultures, and learned about history with hands-on experiences.

After a long bus ride back to Santa Clara, the day ended with fellowship over dinner and a reflection called Glow and Grow, during which scholars split into groups. Accompanied by a Legacy Leader, scholars reflected on their week, new friendships, and sent each other off with positive affirmations, as the main part of Envision U came to a close.


Martin Totland is the Media and Communications Coordinator at Boys Hope Girls Hope Network Headquarters.


The last day of Envision U began, like the rest of the week, with a morning reflection.  Scholars said their goodbyes, exchanged contact information with new friends from other affiliates, and reflected on their week of connecting, learning, and seizing new opportunities!