Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano was founded in 2006 by St. Margaret’s Episcopal School under the leadership of its third headmaster, Marcus D. Hurlbut. Marcus recognized the need for academic enrichment for low-income, at-risk students in San Juan Capistrano and saw an opportunity for the St. Margaret’s community to help.

In the summer of 2006, founding director Diosa Adams launched Breakthrough SJC with 22 rising 7th grade students from San Juan Capistrano’s Marco Forster Middle School and 6 intern teachers on the campus of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School. The program grew rapidly from there.


By 2009, Breakthrough SJC was serving 51 middle school students with 16 intern teachers.

The following year, Breakthrough added 24 new students while serving the returning 8th graders.


In 2010, Breakthrough expanded to offer the College Bound program to serve growing demand for support among its rising high school students.

The first year of College Bound served 30 high school students.


In 2017, through a five-year strategic plan, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano has expanded to offer support through college graduation and serve more students.

Breakthrough SJC Today

Today, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano serves 270 middle, high, and college school students with a committed community that includes the Breakthrough staff, St. Margaret’s staff, mentors, volunteers, teachers, and community supporters.

Breakthrough SJC works in collaboration with the City of San Juan Capistrano, Marco Forster Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District, and various local organizations to effectively serve and equip its students for academic success today, in high school and beyond.

In thirteen consecutive years, Breakthrough SJC has served more than 330 students from the San Juan Capistrano community. Breakthrough has grown immensely since 2006, and we remain dedicated to serving our community effectively by providing valuable resources to our students and families.

Breakthrough SJC is one of 24 affiliate sites across the nation belonging to Breakthrough Collaborative, and it is the only Breakthrough site in Southern California. The Collaborative was founded in San Francisco in 1978 and has served over 40,000 students and teachers to date.

Each year, 5,000 students and 1,000 teachers join the movement in making college a reality for underserved students. The program’s efficacy has been confirmed by Stanford University and the American Institute of Research through longitudinal and pre- and post-test assessments.

Breakthrough Collaborative brings innovative programs into communities across the country for local impact supported and informed by national infrastructure and expertise.