Celebrating The College Connections Program’s High School Graduates!
“Working with advisors and alongside my peers was a transformative experience. Through having weekly meetings for three years, I was able to see growth within myself. I learned to deal with my emotions during times of stress, career awareness, college readiness, and the importance of mental health. Throughout these amazing three years, I have built connections with my peers and advisors that I will forever cherish. With their guidance and advice, I was able to overcome the obstacles I encountered during my high school career,” 2022 high school graduate, Susan, shares.
Graduating high school and transitioning to college can be a stressful and difficult time to navigate – and can be even more complicated during the pandemic. The College Connections Program (CCP) provides resources and mentorship to support students during high school throughout the process of planning their path for after high school. From mentoring sessions to SAT prep, college fairs and spotlights, to opportunities to apply for scholarships, and more, students and their parents learn about different options to pursue after high school.
CCP student, Brianna, first learned about The Fresh Air Fund when she participated in the Friendly Towns program and visited a family in Maine for two summers! Then, she had the opportunity to attend Camp Mariah and the Career Awareness Program from 2016 – 2018. In the Fall of 2019, Brianna enrolled in CCP and found the guidance and support she needed when nervous and for applications.
“It has truly been a one-of-a-kind experience getting to interact with three mentors weekly and receiving so much help with the college process as well as other career related situations. My advisors were always super sincere when it came to assisting us with college applications and with other life-related things such as different career options and scholarship searches. Getting to work with my peers was also very reassuring at times because we all had very similar nervous feelings about college and the application process, so I didn’t feel as alone,” Brianna shared.
For many students, especially during the pandemic, CCP became a safe space to learn, share and reflect with their peers and mentors. Through Zoom sessions and breakout groups, students connected through their experiences and realized that they are not alone in their journey.
Even after high school, the program continues to support students. At a recent virtual graduation ceremony, CCP high school graduates gathered to celebrate. Mentors encouraged students to continue engaging with The Fund to receive guidance for post-secondary success. The CCP team provides information about available summer internships, fellowships and employment opportunities, college scholarships, as well as ongoing support on troubleshooting financial aid issues, questions with selecting classes and more.
“I am so proud of the group and the growth I have seen in everyone over the last three years. I remember in the beginning; everyone was shy but today I see confident young people that speak up and say what’s on their mind. What I enjoyed the most was when we talked about highs and lows – the students were able to share what was on their mind and it showed that they were aware of what is going on in the world and in their community. I know that your growth will continue and congratulations to all our graduates,” Third-year mentor, Jackie, shared at the CCP graduation.