On July 12, AAFE’s Project Collegebound sponsored a trip to Binghamton University in upstate New York for more than 40 high school students.  It was a chance for the students, from Flushing High School and Flushing International High School, to get valuable exposure to college life, to learn about admissions procedures and to gain confidence about continuing their educations at the college level.

The two-night, three-day retreat was specifically geared for students from immigrant families; some have been in America for as little as five months; others have lived in this country for up to five years.  During the retreat, there were presentations from Binghamton’s admissions staff, as well as information about New York state’s Educational Opportunity Program. The students also took part in programs aimed at increasing teamwork, enhancing communication skills, managing finances and learning time management techniques.

The students stayed in the school’s dormitories, ate in the dining hall and attended lectures.  JunYing Lin from Flushing International High School told fellow participants, “I learned so many useful skills and those skills are not only useful (at school) but also for my life.  Project Collegebound teaches me things that I don’t learn in school.”

In addition to the summer programs, Project Collegebound operates during the school year, focusing on English Language Learners (ESL’s) in both Flushing high schools. The objective is to improve their educational experiences and advance a college-going school culture. Components of Project Collegebound include youth organizing, parent organizing, professional development, direct services and community resource building.

Project Collegebound currently serves over 250 students and their families with one-on-one college guidance and financial literacy counseling, professional development for teaching staff, youth and parent leadership development, and other activities that promote college- and career-readiness. AAFE organizes Project Collegebound in partnership with the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families with support from Deutsche Bank of Americas Foundation and Capital One Bank.