Cool kids Andrew, Justin work to encourage education in Pico Rivera

PICO RIVERA, Calif. (KABC) -- Two teenage boys are working to improve education in their Pico Rivera community, and they've managed to recruit friends to help them out.

Justin Uribe and Andrew Perez are high school seniors who want to help the next generation succeed. Both teens said their goal is to give kids the academic boost they need to do better in school.

"We wanted to do something where we can give back to kids because success is from education," said Uribe. "The earlier you start in education, the better it's going to grow throughout the child's future.

Uribe attends El Rancho High School and Perez goes to Loyola High School, but both grew up in Pico Rivera, where they say is the community they want to help improve.

"Here in Pico Rivera, we have 8 percent of households that have a bachelor's degree or higher, and only 67 percent have at least a high school diploma," said Perez. "That's when we know we have to change those numbers."

To help turn things around, they started a tutoring program, but it's not just a two-man operation. Both students have recruited others who go out and help younger students in the neighborhood.

"They come back and they help these kids to become that rock, to become that role model for them," Perez said. "To let them know 'I know what you're going through, I went through the same community as you.'"

The heroic pair said they hope the program they started grows and includes other schools in Pico Rivera.

Friends and teachers said the young men have a strong and unique connection to the neighborhood as well as the drive needed to make an impact.

"They genuinely believe in their community. They believe in giving back," said Principal Priscilla Rodriguez. "They believe in the potential of a younger generation, and they give you hope."
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