Cambel Iribuka, 2020, New Settlement’s College Access Center, Bronx New York.

New Settlement provides a range of services that guide our community’s first-generation college-aspiring youth through the steps necessary to identify, prepare for and apply to college and secure financial aid. Embedded in a storefront in the Mount Eden Community and in schools in the surrounding neighborhood, the College Access Center provides one-on-one college admissions and financial aid guidance; SAT preparation classes, college visits, and early college awareness workshops to high school students and their families. Once in college, our success component ensures that students receive ongoing guidance and support to ensure that they adapt to life in college and stay on track to complete their degree.

My experience at the new settlement college access center is one that I would exchange for none other. New settlement is divided in two sections: The college access center which has for duty to help students get access to higher education and funding for it, and The college success center which helps support students already college and make sure that they are mentally, academically and financially stable to go through however many years it may require them to get a bachelor’s degree. Thus, I have been handed a two parts job as well, some days I would be in the office and others in the classrooms.

A lot of my responsibilities involved outreach, whether it be by call, text or email I had to get students to come to our different events and know that there is a resource for them. Through these events, high school students would learn about the different ways to apply to college and possibly take into consideration going to college. The reason why we target high school students is because in low income neighborhoods where high school is free, many think that college is a luxury that they are not allowed to and therefore stop pursuing education. Once they attend these events, we not only make sure to change these ideologies, but we sign them up for one on one counseling with counselors or college bridge coach (students currently in college but working to make sure that more students in their neighborhoods follow in their path). I often facilitated these events to numerous large classes. (See picture).

The college access center is also aware that not many can afford the necessary supplies for school. This is why we provides a book bag full of school supplies and a residential kit for any students going to abroad (See picture). This is the majority of what I was tasked with since it is the time students shop for college. There is nothing more rewarding than the times when we presented the bags and supplies to the students.A popular event That occurred lots of times during the summer is the” Success Retreat,” this is the event that allows college access students to become college success students. During these three hours, I facilitate and explaining not only how the college success center will help students through college, but we also do lots of fun role-playing games which have as a goal to introduce do students to some of the situation they will face in college, and how to navigate them and continue being successful scholars.

As a member of a low-income neighborhood myself and a student still trying to build his resume, I knew that I needed to spend the summer getting work experience and toning up my soft skills. However due the expensive life of New York, I knew an income was more than necessary for me to pursue this internship. This summer funding from the career development center was a foundation to me being able to have this experience because it allowed me to pay for transportation around the city but also pay for rent. The most help that it has brought was in the purchasing of proper work attire, expect for casual Fridays. This funding was such a boost as it made it possible for me to be able to have this experience that I can then share and use for my own personal growth.
For this I want to say Thank You, but most of all thank you for entrusting me with this opportunity that many applied for.

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