Jazmin Cruz was a top student at her Bushwick high school. She was accepted to quality, expensive private colleges and offered significant scholarships to help with the tuition. However, Jazmin is also undocumented, making her ineligible for government financial aid that would have brought the tuition into her range. And her SAT scores were just below the cut-off for the most affordable CUNY colleges on her list.
Just when it looked like Jazmin, a valedictorian of her class, was going to be shut out of college, Make the Road New York stepped in and helped her appeal the CUNY decision, emphasizing her excellent grades, intellectual curiosity and determination. Jazmin is now a freshman at John Jay College. Every year, Make the Road New York helps thousands of young people just like her.
Our Student Success Center is the first truly youth-driven college access program in New York City. In the schools where we operate, our peer counselors help three of every four graduating seniors get accepted to a diverse array of public and private colleges.
This is critical work. Only 15 percent of Bushwick residents have a college degree. Most of our youth members attend high schools that don’t even have college counselors.They’re often the first in their families to even consider college.
College access is just one part of Make the Road New York’s work. The film features community members utilizing other programs too. We helped Claudia — and hundreds like her — stand up to an employer who unlawfully withheld wages. Now we’re working with her to start a cleaning cooperative that will create good jobs for immigrant workers.
And we helped Luis, who lost his home in Hurricane Sandy, to get back on his feet. Now he’s leading our efforts to ensure that all Sandy survivors have access to safe housing.
Thanks to your support, we reach 14,000 people like Jazmin, Claudia and Luis every year.