Community Centers are a popular sight in many urban neighborhoods. With goals ranging from leadership development to occupational guidance, these centers strive to create and provide opportunity to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. This program seeks to model itself after these centers. Essentially, this program attempts to be a “traveling community center” taking itself from one middle and high school to another.
Specifically, at each location, the college student volunteers will teach hobbies such as dance or writing poetry and provide academic assistance and support- all with the intention of encouraging the middle and high school students to include higher education in their future planning. Each school will be visited four times during the fall semester. Additionally, the students will also visit Purchase College once during the spring semester, so as to allow them the opportunity to tour a residence hall, see the academic buildings and meet more college students.
The major outcome of this program is two-fold. The first is mentorship. The college student volunteers via their participation will be seen as role models and examples. By connecting with students from a wide age range, the potential for instilling self-confidence, influencing direction and focus and assisting in the discovery of new interests all increase tremendously and it is these outcomes that will empower the younger generation to simply believe in themselves and that anything is possible.
The second is goals clarification. By being present, the middle and high school students will be able to see that attending college is possible. By interacting and working with the college student volunteers, the students will clarify their goals- goals that hopefully will include going to college.