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HSVS Sends Off 50 American Dream Scholars to College This Fall

August 31, 2016

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HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services (HSVS) hosted its Annual Youth Development Week, a supportive and celebratory send-off for its record 50 enrolled American Dream Program (ADP) scholars. The HSVS American Dream Program helps young men and women who have experienced foster care achieve their college and career dreams. HSVS aims to send 100 scholars to college by 2020.

The HSVS scholars participated in an Opportunity Fair, which equipped students with education, internship and career information from partners. Opportunity Fair guests included ACS-Education, Brooklyn Workforce Initiative, Con Edison, CUNY ASAP, Cuny Fatherhood Academy, The Door, EdeYouth and Credit Agricole Corporate Investment Bank, HSVS Integrated Health, iFoster, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, New York Foundling, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Represent Magazine, SUNY Schools and Teach for America.

The students also geared up for College Boot Camp, a series of workshops and panels to prepare them for the upcoming semester. The scholars learned crucial skills, such as how to develop a strong relationship with professors, implement effective time management and maintain wellness while handling a stressful college schedule.

During College Boot Camp, scholars were also able to engage with panel speakers from the fields of criminal justice, child welfare and education. Those areas are of strong interest to the scholars, who aspire to help in their careers as they have been helped during their time in foster care. Dos Toros Taqueria, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Rocco’s Tacos generously donated lunch.

At a celebratory dinner, many people helped send off our scholars for a successful Fall semester, including Members of the Board of Directors, Junior Board and supporters from City Hall. HSVS Director of Education Lauren Lee Pettiette introduced each of the scholars with their major, career aspirations and some humorous anecdotes. Pettiette also gave away a college care package to each of the 50 scholars. From a Moleskin notebook to ramen noodles, the luggage contained all the college essentials.

The HSVS Junior Board’s crowdfunding campaign raised over $6,000 for the care packages. The HeartShare Junior Board also announced its newest member, Mamadou Dione, who grew up in the care of the former St. Vincent’ Services. As an HSVS American Dream Program Scholar, Mamadou graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering this year and currently works as an Assistant Engineer at Turner Construction.

In addition to words of encouragement and advice from their HSVS family, the scholars also enjoyed raffle prizes donated by community partners, including Panera Bread, Warby Parker, New York Sports Clubs, Shake Shack, Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, Lassen & Hennigs, Amazon.com, and Trader Joe’s.

To invest in our American Dream Program Scholars, please contact lauren.pettiette@heartshare.org.

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