Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CC College Prep Program and College Zone!

In the past 2 months alone, a small band of dedicated individuals, myself, Carla Reyes, Nicole White, Jen Nolan and EL Da'Sheon have been designing and starting to implement a comprehensive college preparatory program for all of our students. This program will ensure that each and every one of our students is on the right track to follow their dreams, gain acceptance to a good school, earn the money to pay for it through scholarships and enter their desired career upon graduation. This program includes a series of biweekly college visits to area schools such as Depaul, UIC, Westwood College, Northwestern and Chicago State University as well as having college representatives from outside of Chicagoland come in and talk to our students about their school and college in general.

The next and most exciting stage of this program will be formally unveiled after winter break when we our Cabrini Connections “college zone”. This area will be staffed each tutoring session by 2 volunteers: Stephanie, who specializes in admissions counseling and Carla, who specializes in financial aid/scholarships. They will work with students, mentors and parents to ensure the kids are college-bound. They will have free reign over an area with: couches, a computer preloaded with college and scholarship applications as well as SAT and ACT test prep programs, as well as a College Prep Library compete with college guides, ACT/SAT test prep books, scholarship manuals and essay guides that can be checked out by students. Another component is a filing cabinet chock full of up to date admissions info from hundreds of schools from around the country, with an emphasis on regional and historically black schools. There will also be a file full of past admissions essays and personal statements from successful applicants so that the kids can get a better idea on how to approach these important but often misunderstood components of the college application.

I have been accumulating resources for our “College Zone” throughout the past few months, and finally, thanks to my sister Rebecca, and her friend Becca, have consolidated many of these resources into one coherent "College Zone". They were kind enough to drive into the city from Rockford IL, last week during their winter vacation and help me design, paint, and construct the space. Considering the picture above is what it looked like before they started, their efforts made a huge difference!

Now that we have such a great space, I am focusing my efforts on trying to accumulate resources for the space: things such as ACT and SAT prep books and CDs, college guides such as those published by Princeton Review, Barrons and Petersons, scholarship and financial aid guides as well as other books relating to the college experience. I am also collecting successful admissions essays, particularly the dreaded "personal statement". Therefore if you or someone you know is willing to donate any of the aforementioned materials, they would be much appreciated and utilized. Just contact me here on the blog or shoot me an email at chris.warrens.mail (at) gmail (dot) com

Monetary donations are also greatly needed and appreciated as we wrap up our holiday fundraising campaign. If you are able, please donate here to help sustain us during these difficult economic times.

Will you help us make this College Zone not only a reality, but a model to be emulated at hundreds of other tutor/mentor programs throughout the city and country? We have a lot of faith in our ability to really make a difference in these kids’ lives through this initiative. In fact, we have already seen some preliminary fruits of our labor.

One of our seniors LaFaye Garth (pictured below) and I have been working together recently on some scholarships, including the Posse and Gates Millennium scholarships. Just last week, LaFaye called me to tell me that she just got word that she is a Posse Scholar. This scholarship provides a full tuition scholarship to the school of her choice. This means she is getting a $141,272 scholarship to attend Pomona College next year to follow her dream of becoming a pediatrician!

I am certain that, once fully implemented, this new College Prep program and “College Zone” will help inspire increasing numbers of students to follow in LaFaye’s footsteps and give them the necessary resources to achieve greatness themselves. 100% of anything you can contribute this holiday season will go directly towards these ends.

Can you help us?

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