Posted by Darrell Stewart on Feb 15, 2019

When Patricia Lapan approached Wakefield Middle School in 2004 with the goal of helping more children from this impoverished community attend college, she had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead. 

Only 3% of children from this gritty urban middle school even attended first year of college. The neighborhood was plagued with high unemployment rates, diabetes, crime, gangs, neglect and to boot, populated with an inordinate number of sex offenders.
Within ten years the Lapan College Club has realized amazing changes. The number of students attending college surged ten-fold with some students successfully graduating from Ivy League schools and even Oxford University!
Evolving from Paticia Lapan’s simple idea of motivating students by awarding them $50 for “A’s” on their report cards, the program currently encompasses simple yet sophisticated mentoring programs whereby highly successful Lapan high school and college students teach middle school students their secrets to succeed in school and in life. In the process a metaphorical and physical garden flourishes in this once arid community. Lapan students have won state championships, performed at the Fox Theatre, studied abroad and gained a fresh vision for life.
Lucy Kin ~ Biography
Lucy Kin is the Executive Director of The Lapan College Club funded by The Lapan Sunshine Foundation, Inc.  Lucy transitioned to her “work of passion” with the Lapan College Club in 2008 after a 30 year career with the Tucson Unified School District working as the financial manager of all State/Federal and Private funding. She also served as a School Improvement Coordinator training district administrators, principals and school leadership teams in instructional and operational program design, implementation, and evaluation to increase student achievement and raise low-performing schools to a performing level.
Building on Patricia Lapan’s idea of $50 for every “A” for students in 6th-12th grade, Lucy and her team incorporated their experience and the relationships developed from decades of working in the Wakefield community to address the systemic, socio-economic and cultural challenges that prevent students from taking full advantage of the Lapan Foundation’s unique offer.
Her job encompasses everything from strategic planning, to teacher, counselor, cheerleader, gardener, dreamer, advocate, coach, surrogate parent, detective and chief bottle washer. “It’s the personal relationships and being able to stay with the kids from 5th grade through their graduate studies that makes this job so fulfilling,” she smiles.
This Tucson native, raised in the small mining town of Silverbell, Arizona to become a policy wonk with TUSD and finally a mentor to mentors with the Lapan College Club finds her greatest pleasure in helping poor children from the inner city overcome every barrier to realize their wildest dreams in a global context.