HOLA on YouTube

Priscilla leads the Alumni crew in a pre-production meeting.

HOLA alumna Priscilla Rios (Class 2011) and recent college grad was studying with the Everett Program at UC Santa Cruz when she had the idea to create what would become a five-part series of college advice videos for current HOLA school students.  The Everett program, which trains students to perform service projects for community organizations while incorporating technology, asked Priscilla and others in the program to propose a topic and an organization where they can make an impact.

Storyboarding helped the Alumni crew to stay on track and get all the footage they needed.

“Early on, I decided I wanted HOLA to be the organization that I dedicated my time to because of everything they have done for me,” Priscilla shares.

Inspired by First in the Family, Priscilla decided a college success video project would be perfect for HOLA as well as for a larger audience. “I wanted to create videos that would encourage positive mentor relationships between high school students and college students. I wanted to give younger HOLA students an opportunity to be inspired and informed by HOLA college students, and the videos would also help demystify the college experience.”

Priscilla reached out to Kevin Franco, head of HOLA’s College Success and Alumni Department, who suggested contacting fellow HOLA almnus Lauro Pilar (Class ’14) and UCLA student. Lauro, who had created a social justice video with a community focus, was more than thrilled to be a part of the project and in the end found the experience very rewarding.

“It was pretty fun! In my work, I’ve mostly worked on my own, but this project was so collaborative. So instead of it feeling draining, we were able to divide the work between team members who each had their own energy and unique skill they brought to the table,” Lauro explains. They teamed up with students from HOLA’s partner Ghetto Film School LA (GFSLA), current HOLA students and staff, and of course, enthusiastic and creative alumnae to make the films.


HOLA was so proud to host our Alumni and help with locations.

While the videos are intended for high school and college aged audiences, the sage advice given  by these wise young people is applicable to most anyone. An excerpt from the project description:

  • Empower all HOLA graduates to go to college and attain a degree.
  • The videos will encourage positive mentorship relationships between high school students and college students while making the videos. The hope is that younger HOLA students have an opportunity to be inspired and informed by HOLA college students.
  • The videos will demystify the college experience for those involved in making the videos or those watching the videos. One high school student commented that she learned how different it was maintaining a balance in high school versus college by listening to HOLA alumni speak of their experiences.

Lauro and Priscilla both emphasize that the project truly was a team effort. As Priscilla reflects, “The most rewarding part of the video project was observing how the video production team collaborated and problem-solved their way through the creation of these videos. Their commitment and dedication to the final products and to HOLA’s mission was obvious and evident.”

Chantal Serrano, a current student at both HOLA and GFSLA, says working with Priscilla, Lauro, and the other alums gave her insight on the challenges and joys college will bring.

“It seems learning balance in college is different than high school, because it’s the first time you’re on your own and the demands are great,” she says. “But college also sounds real life in a way high school is not, and different because it’s the first time you 100% get to know yourself and who you are independently from your family. It’s definitely exciting.”

Though the duo admit they will be using aspects of the project in their future careers, neither of these talented filmmakers have career aspirations rooted in film.

Science-loving Lauro remains committed to his biology studies, where he incorporates film as a tool for explaining his ideas.

While Priscilla, who just received her degree in Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies, will begin an internship in Washington, D.C. at the Internet Education Foundation. “I hope to better understand how the policies surrounding the internet affect us in our daily lives and futures.”

Lauro and Priscilla are hoping to create more videos addressing other challenges college students face. “This is just Season 1,” Lauro excitedly claims before adding season 2 will have to wait.

“Not until next year!”

Priscilla is most grateful for the support she received to execute her vision.

“The HOLA College Success Video Project taught me an immense amount about project planning, funding, coordination, evaluation and communication! In other words, there is a lot of responsibility and attention to detail when developing a project that is crucial to its final implementation and level of success. While I may have had a large role in initiating the project, it was a community effort that helped propel it into what it resulted in. Therefore, I thank The Everett Program, Heart of Los Angeles, and the Production Team for the constant support, energy, and dedication to making sure the project idea became a reality. I think the biggest motivator for many of us was the desire to give back to the organization!”


Production Team: 
Ajmir Khan- UCSB Freshman
Cristian Vera- 12th grade
Chantal- 11th grade
Alumni Interviewed:
Cristian Soriano
Yasmin Torres
Nosa “Kenny” Tilmon
Adriana Ceron
Lauro Pilar
Priscilla Lopez
Omar Campos
Maria Salazar

Without further ado, HOLA is proud to present “Maintaining a Balance in College”. This is the first of five videos, where HOLA alumni reflect on how they learned to balance all of college’s demands, such as class, work, sports, clubs, and social lives. Next Thursday, HOLA will release the second video called “Best College Experience”. 


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