Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BON Helps Young People Access College

Transforming the Lives of Disconnected Young Adults

Shenett’s horizons have greatly expanded thanks to Grace Outreach and their participation in the Bronx Opportunity Network (BON) — a borough based partnership with Bronx Community College, Hostos Community College, and eight community-based organizations.  The BON looks to systemically increase college access—and to support post-secondary retention—among dis-engaged young adults.

Like too many young people, Shenett, a 19-year-old woman from the Bronx, possessed enormous drive, but faced a daunting series of hurdles as she attempted to pursue her dreams.

Shenett & Tiffany attend a BON event at Hostos, January 2012
Those dreams were nearly dashed when she took the CUNY COMPASS Test — an entrance requirement for anyone with a GED, and a hurdle for all of the students supported by the BON.  Shenett failed all four subtest exams, but she was more determined than ever to do better. 

She specifically received support and assistance from Grace Outreach, one of the eight community-based partners of the BON, which is working in a strategic way in the South Bronx to increase college access and support post-secondary retention for young adults like herself.

The BON’s collective power to negotiate with CUNY for a re-take of the COMPASS gave Shenett a second chance. 


“Lehman is my top college choice, and I am thinking about business management.  I would eventually like to start my own business, maybe having to do with day care or something with children. But after college, I would likely go work for a larger business or corporation to learn about how things operate on that level before starting my own. I really do love kids, so I could combine this love with skills and ideas from the business world.”
Shenett did so well the second time she took the tests that she was only required to take one remedial class in her first college semester.

With encouragement and support from the BON — and a resolve to do her personal best — Shenett did well her first semester.  She worked hard in all four of her classes and earned a grade point average of 3.0. 

Shenett is on track to earn her Associates degree in May of next year — but she already has her sights on furthering her education: “I definitely plan on transferring to a 4 year college after finishing at Hostos, probably staying at CUNY.”

The BON’s mission is to assist under-prepared Bronx students that would not consider enrolling in college to improve their academic skills, overcome personal barriers, and enroll in and complete college. Working at the policy level, an immediate goal of the BON is to continue to identify barriers and opportunities that may influence the results achieved by these high-need students within CUNY.

JobsFirstNYC is proud to nurture this vital program.

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