East L.A. Rising graduates celebrated after beating the odds

EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was a night to remember for a group of teens who have beat the odds. They are members of East Los Angeles Rising, a group that changes lives.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis led the salute Wednesday to a group of soon-to-be high school and college graduates from around East L.A.

"You don't realize how many people help you until you're where you wanted to be," said Abdurrahman Yamani, who will attend East L.A. College in the fall.

East L.A. Rising has been helping kids ages 5 to 18 and their families since 1950, often seeing these young people become the first in their family to attend college.

"I was the first in my family to go, and many of the families here are very humble," Solis said. "Some don't even know how to help their child navigate, but this place is a resource for them to understand how to do that."

ABC7's Danny Romero served as master of ceremonies on the night that will help show others that dreams can be achieved no matter where you come from.

"When somebody says East L.A., I don't care how educated you are, more times than not, your mind is going to go to drugs, gangs, poverty, despair," said executive director Anna Araujo. "And that's the last thing you see when you walk into our building."

A salute to the graduates dinner is now in its 15th year. East L.A. rising has a 100% high school graduation rate in a community where only 34% of adults have a high school diploma.
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