On September 15, the Give Back New York chapter held its first all-scholar event hosted by Binghamton University at the SUNY Welcome Center in Manhattan, New York. Each region of the Give Back Program holds a scholar event to provide an opportunity for scholars, families and college representatives to get to know one another and create a support group for the scholars in the program.

Special guests, President Felix Matos Rodriguez of Queens College, President Tim Hall of Mercy College and Assistant Director of Admissions Craig Broccoli addressed the new Give Back scholars and their families. Attendees shared lunch with scholars, parents, Give Back staff members and mentors before gathering to hear some words of wisdom and inspiration from college partners and Give Back leaders.  After, scholars were encouraged to introduce themselves to the college presidents, administrators, and admissions officers.

There are currently 21 scholars in the New York Chapter of Give Back; two college sophomores, one high school eleventh grader and 18 high school tenth graders. Give Back partners with seven community-based organizations to support these scholars and provide them with mentors.

Two of the Give Back scholars spoke at the all-scholar event. Luis, a tenth grader from Queens, shared his experience of receiving the scholarship.

“One day I finally got an email saying that I got the scholarship but I got it while I was on the bus so I had to hold in my excitement,” Luis said. “I came home to my mom and started screaming ‘I got it! I got the scholarship!’ My mom and I were extremely happy and thankful that I got this amazing opportunity.”

Lianna, a sophomore at Mercy College did not see college in her future.

“I never knew that taking 15 credits and working two part-time jobs would be possible,” Lianna said. “I had one class I never thought I’d pass because it was so confusing, but in the end, I received an ‘A.’  Getting through those tough moments is part of achieving the goals I want to reach.”

A thank you is extended to the Give Back Mid- Atlantic chapter, Binghamton University and everyone on the SUNY Welcome Center team who made this event possible. For more information, please visit www.giveback.ngo .