From our Executive Director
In 2016, we launched programs with Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, and five local high schools — which means that we get to work with students like Shondranell Brown.
I met Shondranell in August.
A first-generation college student, she was excited to be at Loyola, but wasn’t sure where to begin when it came to tackling all of the challenges she found when she got there.
She couldn’t afford to buy her $160 math textbook and started to get behind in her work.
She also works 25 hours per week at Smoothie King to afford her monthly tuition payments. She thinks about the bill a lot, and what will happen if she doesn’t earn enough money to pay it.
There were many times this semester when social stressors, financial obligations, and academic adjustments felt like too much to handle.
Luckily, Shondranell was able to turn to her College Beyond college success coach, Erica Martinez.
They set up Google calendar to manage various academic and work commitments. Erica showed her how to keep a running to-do list and shared mindfulness tips for the times when stress set in.
Together they reviewed Shondranell’s financial aid and went to speak with her advisor. They helped Shondranell get a voucher to purchase the remaining textbook she needed.
Most important, Erica was there to listen when Shondranell needed it.
Via text messages, social media snaps, and impromptu meetings, Shondranell was able to access Erica at the times she needed her most and came to view her as a trusted advisor and friend.
Shondranell is still in college today, gearing up for her second semester this spring. And not only did she pass first semester, but she earned a 3.3 GPA!
With your support, she can continue to get the encouragement and support she needs to tackle freshman year and build the skills and confidence to keep going with her college career.
Help students like Shondranell by making a year-end gift today.
$1,000 provides coaching to a student for an entire year
$500 buys books for a semester
$120 one-time or $10/month pays an important fee, like Orientation
$60 one-time or $5/month covers the cost of a peer mentor for one college student
$25 enrolls three students in our mass-texting campaign
Thank you for your support, and Happy New Year!
Co-founder & Executive Director