On Monday, February 11th, the School of the Future Promise Corps team room was filled with a mix of college students from Villanova and our very own seniors here at Future. A group of graduate students from Villanova have been leading a first generation college student group with the seniors at School of the Future since September. On Monday, this team of Villanova students brought multiple undergraduate first generation college students, as well as staff members from Villanova, to the high school and had them speak to the seniors about their experience as the first person in their family to go to college.
The Promise Corps team was invited to sit in on the panel and listen to the questions our students had for the panelists. The seniors were asking many interesting questions, and they were able to get a good idea of the struggles they may face throughout their academic career as a first generation college student. The students were extremely engaged in this panel and have given the Promise Corps team very good feedback on their experience. All of our students are getting more and more excited to start their journey after high school, especially as they have recently begun to receive their college acceptance letters. Many students have already been accepted to multiple colleges and we cannot wait to see where they end up in the fall!
In the beginning of the 2018-2019 Promise Corps year, we started off with 8 College and Career Ambassadors in our cohort. As the year continued, we have held 3 recruitment efforts to expand our cohort in order to serve even more students in West Philadelphia high schools.
Here at Sayre High School, we were able to gain an amazing new addition to our team from the final round of recruitment. Adedoyin Eisape, also known as “DeeDee,” joined the team in January and will serve with us until the end of the school year. DeeDee is from New Jersey, and has also lived in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Before DeeDee came to Promise Corps, she received her B.S. degree in Biology at Haverford College. While at Haverford, she participated in the Student Council as an Officer of Multiculturalism, was a member of the Black Student League and Mixed Identity Alliance, played on the Ultimate Frisbee team, and even participated in the Mentoring and Student Teaching Program. As you can see, DeeDee was extremely busy in college, and comes to Promise Corps with a lot of experiences that make her a great fit to support Sayre students. After Promise Corps, she would like to go to graduate school and study Epidemiology, which is the study of the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.
Dee Dee has decided to serve with Promise Corps this year because she wants to contribute to valuable support systems for youth, and engage with social determinants of health, which will help impact diverse communities. Since DeeDee has started at Sayre, she has stepped up to help take lead with the after school program called Girls Who Code, and she has had no trouble getting to know her students.
Dee Dee has been welcomed by the Sayre team with open arms and will continue to uphold the Promise Corps values in all that she does!
On Friday, January 25th, the Promise Corps team at High School of the Future attended a trip led by Upward Bound in collaboration with the chemistry department at SOF. Along with Promise Corps, Upward Bound, and the eleventh grade chemistry teacher, twenty-five students left school after first period and embarked for The University of Pennsylvania campus. While on campus, students were able to observe the regular goings on, interact with undergraduates and catch a small glimpse into college life. While on campus, students were able to listen to a researcher from Johnson and Johnson talk about cancer research, who encouraged the students to look into and pursue a degree in a STEM field where they would be able to conduct research and eventually obtain a job in research.
The students were able and encouraged to ask questions about what research jobs look like and how to get into research while attending college. Shaquana from the Promise Corps team at School of the Future said “It was really fun to see the students interact with the cancer research team at Johnson and Johnson and Penn. They all seemed genuinely interested and it definitely encouraged many of them to look into research opportunities while applying to college. The researchers also helped them understand how to reach out the the research departments once they arrive on the campus of the school they will be attending.”
Overall, the students really enjoyed the trip and will continue to go to the university once a month to keep the conversation going with them about STEM and research. Huge thanks to Upward Bound for inviting the team at School of the Future to attend this field trip and for allowing the students to get a look into college life!
On January 16th, two members of Promise Corps went to the Whitman Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia in South Philadelphia to give a presentation about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. We were invited to do so after one of the librarians, who is familiar with the mission of Promise Corps, discovered that many patrons of the library had expressed apprehension about completing the FAFSA.
Equipped with a Powerpoint presentation and two dozen donuts, Sydney Spott and Drew Schaub addressed a small, yet diverse group of people. The group of attendees was comprised of five high school students, one freshman at Temple, three parents, and one adult looking to go back to school. Sydney and Drew were shocked to discover that all five of the high school students were only juniors. It was truly uplifting to see these young scholars so invested in their future that they wanted to get a head start and be as prepared as possible. The presentation started with an overview of FAFSA, stressed its importance, and then reviewed the materials necessary to complete it, discussed what the actual application process looks like and dispelled some common myths about the FAFSA. When the presentation was over, the students and parents had several questions about the FAFSA, as well as other topics relating to college.
There was a great discussion about preparing for the SATs, finding scholarships, and deciding which school is the right fit. It was delightful to get to know the students, hear about their plans, and talk to them about what the college experience is like. Though the group was not from the Promise Zone, and therefore not technically part of the focus of Promise Corps, it was a great experience to get involved in a different community and to help assuage everyone’s concerns.
Promise Corps is excited to continue providing college access resources across the city of Philadelphia!
The Overbrook Team has been working hard to complete modules with our students! On Wednesday, January 16th and Thursday, January 17th, CCA’s Rodney, Jessie and Aliyah spent the morning preparing breakfast for our students to enjoy during the module presentations. Students were welcomed to the Promise Corps room with pancakes, toppings, and orange juice and then attended our National Service and Jobs & Internships Modules.
Students were educated on numerous National Service opportunities through our Module. AmeriCorps opportunities such as City Year, Digital Service Fellows, Power Corps, and, of course, Promise Corps were included in the module. We also highlighted the unique opportunities National Service has to offer, such as relocating to a completely new city, receiving an education award to help pay for school, and engaging in professional development to support a member’s future career. Students were excited to learn about the many ways they could give back to their community.
After the National Service Module concluded, the OHS team moved right into the Jobs & Internships Module, beginning with an Ice Breaker discussion; students were asked, ”Who already has a part-time job, and how did you get this job?” After the Ice Breaker, we discussed with students the necessary steps to take when applying for a job, how to build a resume & write a cover letter, what to do before, during and after an interview, and how to properly dress for an interview. Additionally, students were provided with resources to find jobs and internships in the Philadelphia area.
The OHS team has had a lot of fun cooking breakfast and presenting modules for our students to enjoy. Besides modules, the OHS team has been working diligently, planning several up-coming college trips for our students. We plan on collaborating with School of the Future for a trip to Del-State on January 29th.
On Thursday, December 13, the Sayre team partnered with the Netter Center and put together a FAFSA Family Night. Our goal was to get students and parents to come in and complete the FAFSA application for our high school seniors. Sayre’s Promise Corps and the Netter Center put together an amazing dinner menu for families to come in and eat while they worked on the applications.
There was pasta, salad, and even Chipotle burritos. The Promise Corps team at Sayre received special assistance from CCA’s at our other sites: Rodney from Overbrook and Drew from West. With their help, we were able to provide all of the parents and guardians in attendance with 1:1 support, and left no parents waiting to be helped. The Sayre team would like to give a BIG thank you for their help and support. Considering the event was only for two hours, and that families had to come from all over the city, we had an amazing turnout of 9 parents and 4 students who started the FAFSA application.
Out of those 9 applications, 4 of them were fully completed. We had some complications with certain applications, but by collaborating with all of the FAFSA coaches in the room, we were able to figure out solutions to unanticipated problems. On a positive note, we now have the tools and knowledge to assist students in the future who come across these particular problems. Ultimately, we were able to push through and reach our goal of successfully assisting families in completing the FAFSA.