CoGenerate recently teamed up with Fine Acts, a global creative studio for social impact, to launch an open call for illustrations showing generations working together for change. We’re looking for illustrations that show older and younger people coming together to...
The Latest from CoGenerate
In Georgia, These AmeriCorps Members Are Building Intergenerational Bonds
What is your program called, and how does it work? Ampact Georgia’s Reading Corps & Math Corps places AmeriCorps members of all ages in schools to serve as tutors. Our staff works with schools to identify students in need of tutorial services, assess those...
Seniors in Service Is Bringing AmeriCorps Members of All Ages Together To Tackle Food Insecurity in Tampa Bay
What is your program called, and how does it work? Seniors in Service is bringing members of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors together to fight food insecurity. They serve together at local pantries that depend on volunteers to provide food for hundreds of families...
A New Conversation About Service That Crosses Generations
Can a single meal begin to bridge divides? Back in January, two major partners in CoGenerate’s work teamed up to find out. On the MLK Day of Service, Generations Over Dinner and AmeriCorps joined with senior living communities across the country to host more than 100...
My ‘Aha!’ moment came in 1998, when I was 52 years old. I was buying dorm room bedding for Nick, who was in a program for chronically homeless youth. I had helped him get into one of the best music conservatories in the country. I was CFO of a computer distribution company, but for eight years, I had volunteered at a homeless shelter in Fulton, NY, assisting kids like Nick with the college application process and fees, campus visits and essentials like bedding.
Nick turned to me and said, ‘Because of you I am going to have my dream. What’s your dream’ What’s your passion’ If it’s not the life you’re living, what steps are you taking to change it.”
His question inspired a revelation. Helping kids like Nick was my passion.
In 1999, I quit my corporate job and found On Point for College to help marginalized young adults – refugees, homeless youth, kids who aged out of foster care – go to college.
4,600 youth enrolled in 219 colleges in 15 years
Nearly 800 graduates, almost all first-generation, low-income minority youth
160 mentors – most over the age of 50 – drove over 190,000 miles in 2013, connecting youth with colleges
For 18 months, I worked out of the trunk of my car. Because of my CFO experience I knew how to set up a new company, diversify sources of funding, budget, supervise employees, negotiate and plan. That first year I helped 26 kids enroll in college. Today our 27 employees and 160 volunteers counsel 6,000 youth every year.
Our approach is novel because we focus on older youth, age 17 to 29, many of whom feel stuck in low-wage jobs. Ninety percent are first-generation, low-income minority youth. A third have no parent in the picture.
We reach out to them in Boys and Girls Clubs, settlement houses, homeless shelters, GED sites, refugee schools, housing projects, libraries and soup kitchens. We help them with essential basics, like admissions and financial aid applications and fees, dorm deposits, backpacks, textbooks and transportation. In the last year alone, our mentors – most older than 50 – drove students 190,000 miles to and from college.
So far, we’ve helped more than 4,600 students enroll in 219 colleges Nearly 800 have graduated. They’re architects, lawyers, doctors, firefighters, teachers, bankers, nurses, accountants and counselors. Our program has been replicated in 10 community centers in New York City and Utica.
I used my savings to launch On Point for College when I left my corporate job 15 years ago. But the joy I feel today when someone walks across the stage to get their diploma is easily worth a million dollars.