Students wave to their family members and friends as they wait to collect their deplomas during the Santa Monica College 2011 graduation ceremony at the Corsair Field. (File photo).

SMC – Students at Santa Monica College, who are perhaps already on the younger end of the generation spectrum, are already focused on helping those even younger with the volunteer group Generation of the Future.
The organization, founded by Santa Monica College student Trae Smith, helps and inspires young students from the ages of 4 to 15 to pursue a vibrant academic future. Smith, who founded the group in his freshman year, said working with youth is essential to the future of our city and of our society
Smith said, “Our next generation of students will make key decisions in the future for society. It’s best to teach a child when he or she is young, their brain retains the information more efficiently. As a young adult, a college student, I know that children adapt well to someone close to their age range.”
The Generation of the Future distinguishes itself from other organizations aimed at providing educational opportunities to young students because the group provides not only educational resources, but also real world experiences that are designed to inspire the students to take part in the world around them. The kids participate in environmentally minded activities like hikes and beach clean-ups, as well as fitness oriented activities like Ultimate Frisbee. Smith said that these environmentally related activities promote stewardship and awareness on a global scale.
The program runs year round, with workshops every Friday beginning in the fall. These workshops provide homework help, intermixed with games and activities to keep the kids motivated. One of the big aspects of these Friday workshops, Smith said, is how the workshops allow the students to create relationships with the volunteers. At these workshops the students get to know their volunteers, and these volunteers become role models for the students.
The program hopes to transcend socioeconomic barriers by soliciting donations. This allows students to be exposed to various experiences that would not otherwise be available to them. In this sense, it exposes kids to the world around them, especially through trips held during the school year.
Smith said, “We will take field trips to influential sites such as museums, colleges, and seminars with the most profound scholars.”
They also get young students out of their comfort zones and keep them healthy and active through events such as the One Day Fun Day Kids Camp to be held on August 16. This camp will provide the kids with a variety of well-rounded activities they can enjoy in a safe environment. Smith said participants enjoy the comprehensive approach.
“Aside from the free tutoring we offer, children and parents will enjoy how well-rounded you become after a visit with Generation Of The Future. We also help with fitness and economically friendly events such as beach clean ups, tree planting, and flag football,” said Smith.
The volunteers of the Generation of the Future make sure to practice what they preach as well with activities like a group hike at Runyon Canyon on July 19. They also plan on volunteering at the Midnight Mission Homeless Shelter. These volunteer events are significant to the overall program experience, Smith explained, as they allow the mentors to be real role models.
Smith said, “When I was younger, I was a part of an after-school program and to this day the memories are still fresh. I remember the activities and the mentors I had, they definitely helped – especially an after school program with mentors to guide you while your parent was not able to pick you up from school for logistical reasons. The mentors definitely made an impact on me and showed me how important it is for a child to have someone they know will always be there for them, especially at a young age, your mind is rapidly growing.”
The Generation of the Future provides young students opportunities for an education and for a future that might not otherwise be available to them. It also unites members of the community of Santa Monica around a purpose-the future of the next generation. Organizers said the program allows for the community to grow stronger and to move in unison. For more information, email organizers at or visit them on Facebook at

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