David “Chino” Contreras was born in Pacoima to parents who emigrated from Mexico. He was raised in a single-parent household, one in which no one else had gone to or even applied for college.
Like many first-generation college students, Contreras struggled during the college application process. Once he got to California State University, Northridge, he would begin to learn how to navigate successfully through college even though he still felt he didn’t belong.
In an effort to surround himself with support, he joined Minority Male Mentoring (M3) during fall 2016. M3 is a program on campus designed to help minority males succeed in college and in their career.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 34.7 percent of African-American males, 35.8 percent of American Indian males, 46.7 percent of Latino males and 49.5 percent of Pacific Islander males graduate within six years after starting college — compared to 57.7 percent of white males.
The brainchild of Alejandra Acuña in the Department of Social Work, M3 aims to increase the graduation rate of males of color through various pathways.