When I think back to when I applied to college I think of how challenging it was. You have to work hard, get good grades and do well on the SAT. Besides doing well in school you need to financially be able to support yourself through those four years of hard work and dedication. I think about what my parents did for me with their mentorship and their financial support (lots and lots of financial support) and I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. I know that most college students wouldn’t be able to be where they are today with out the support and guidance of their parents. But what about the students who are just as talented and motivated but don’t have the guidance or resources to receive their opportunity of a degree?
Across the country, tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college credits or work histories, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession, which has left workers between the ages of 18 and 24 with the highest unemployment rate of all adults. Most cities that have programs to help homeless individuals do not focus on young adults. The Sulzbacher Center was in the same boat two years ago. Luckily, Cedric Lewis and Joshua Stancliff realized that there was a need to provide teens with an opportunity to see what college is like and set them up with a path to get there. That is when they created the in-sight Program. At first Joshua and Cedric just had the students tour the University of North Florida but then they realized that you couldn’t just show students the campus you have to help them get there.
The in-sight Program provides teenagers and young adults residing at the Center the opportunity to tour local universities, see that higher education is, indeed, a possibility for them. The program also helps the students apply to colleges or universities, apply for financial aid or scholarships, and obtain housing. The name has two meanings. You can let students see that college is in their sight and you can also provide in-sight to let students see what their future could be like with a college education. The Program doesn’t only give the students tours of the campus but it is the everyday pushing, mentoring, coaching, encouraging and debating that is almost acting as a parent to help these students fulfill their dreams.
To learn more about the in-sight Program and hear stories about the two young men who went through the program and had success, join us at Transformations. This year on Tuesday, October 7, Transformations will showcase how education is positively impacting the lives of homeless children and young adults on the First Coast. Even with the deck stacked against them, time and again we see homeless youth beat the odds.
Click here to purchase general admission tickets for $50 or to become a sponsor.