Program helps at-risk youth accomplish college dreams
By Noor Yussuf–
U of L is helping area students live their dreams of graduating college through Go College Louisville, a program that aims to increase the number of minority, first generation and low-income students attending college.
The program is an initiative that provides students the necessary tools in order to succeed in college. It was born as a partnership between Jefferson County Public Schools and U of L, as well as other organizations and initiatives.
“It is important because it provides guidance, encouragement, practical knowledge on preparation for college, the admissions process and guidelines, and because of the commitment required to succeed towards earning a two-year or four-year degree,” said Joe Goodman, one of the academic coaches for the program.
In order to achieve its goals, the program uses “College Coaches,” a group of professionals who work with the students to help them along the way.
“Coaches are on the frontline with the high school students,” explained June Demus, the program manager. “They make that first impression of letting the students know they care, the first impact of what they can do and what life has to offer the promise and exposure to life beyond high school.”
The coaches also recruit outside tutors for the program by “contacting college students who are interested in becoming informal mentors as well as assisting high school students in subjects such as math, science, English and history,” said Goodman.
“Regarding math and English, improvement in levels of motivation and confidence occurs through meaningful interaction with tutors who help students maximize areas of strength and overcome any academic challenges which may exist,” said Goodman.
Working with tutors also provides opportunities for Go College participants to interact with individuals to whom they can relate. They also receive added encouragement when tutors share their own stories of how they overcame academic or life challenges.
In addition to helping students grow academically, Go College helps them with some of the logistics of college, including selecting the right college and learning about the admissions process at each school.
Go College Louisville began in 2010 as a five-year multi-million dollar grant from the US Department of Education to the Council for Opportunity in Education. Three Louisville high schools, Moore Traditional High School, Shawnee High School, and Fern Greek High School, are involved in the program.
The long-term goal for the GO College Louisville program is “to continue to show the positive results and impact of our coaches working with students; therefore increasing the number of students that not only enter college but also graduate,” said college coach Jessy Rosenberg.
Photo courtesy Go College Program.