Staff and students enjoy AAFE’s annual Summer College Retreat.

Earlier this summer, Asian Americans for Equality took 42 high school students on their annual Summer College Retreat to Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system. The program aims to provide students with a comprehensive overnight college experience and to build their leadership and self-advocacy skills as they prepare for their future. Most of the student participants are immigrants and will be first-generation college students. They come from three public high schools in New York: Flushing High School, Flushing International High School and Lower East Side Preparatory High School, all of which all have partnerships with AAFE for youth and family programming.

The workshops focused on topics such as the college application process, writing personal statements, budgeting, stress management, and advice on how to form healthy relationships. The students also experienced an admissions tour and information session along with a scavenger hunt around the campus. They were expected to summarize their learning in a final team project presentation on the third day. AAFE was also glad to involve, for the first time, four high school graduates and alumni of their programs, as “junior staff” at the retreat.

Erica He, AAFE Youth Organizer, said: “The trip was a great success. It was the first overnight outing for many of our youths and they gained a lot of practical knowledge about how the college application process works. In addition, the students also learned a great deal about how to work as part of a team and they made a lot of new friends from other schools.”