The latest news and updates from CARA.

Relevant Articles and Reports

CARA’s work is informed by, and continually informs, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers in the fields of college access and success. Check out some of the pieces we find particularly interesting and/or that feature the great work of CARA’s partners.

Recent News from CARA - Summer 2018

  • Film Premiers Featuring CARA-Trained Youth Leaders: Personal Statement

    PERSONAL STATEMENT is a documentary film about three remarkable CARA-trained Youth Leaders supporting their peers through the college process while applying to college themselves. The film was given the honor of opening the AFI DOCS festival in Washington, DC this June.

    After the film, Rick Cruz, Chief of Strategy and Innovation for Houston Public Schools moderated a panel with the filmmakers – Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez – and the three Youth Leaders – Christine Rodriguez, Karoline Jimenez, and Enoch Jemmott.

    Cruz said the film “speaks to an issue that is so critical – an issue about access, aboutopportunity that is too often ignored, and this is not an issue specific to NYC public schools. It is an issue that most districts in our country are facing… [these issues] are so systemic.”

    Karoline, a former Youth Leader and Bridge Coach from the Franklin K. Lane campus – now a junior at SUNY New Paltz said she hopes the film helps people to see that “a lot of good things happen when you believe in young people.”

    To check out the panel discussion click here and to read an interview with Julie Dressner click here.

    Personal Statement will be broadcast nationally on PBS on October 23rd at 8 pm. Mark your calendars!

  • New Materials to Support College Access in NYC Public High Schools

    This spring, our College Inquiry co-directors expanded CARA’s curriculum resources, and they are being utilized by CARA schools throughout the city and by the NYC Department of Education’s College Access for All Initiative:

    • College Office Resources provides tangible tools and templates to support best practices in college counseling offices.

    • Resources for Leaders provides a library of turn-key professional development materials for schools and equips administrators and teacher-leaders to plan and facilitate their own capacity-building sessions for their school staff.

  • CARA Staff Present at Conferences around NYC and NY State

    CARA staff Shaquinah Wright, Director of College Bridge,  Shalema Henderson, Director of College Allies along with  Shari Simon, College Advisor with Comprehensive Development Inc. presented at the New York State College Admission Conference (NYSACAC) at Marist College. Their session titled “Leveraging Youth Leadership: Building Capacity for College Access and Success” focused on CARA’s youth leadership work in Right to College, College Bridge, and College Allies.

    Shalema  Henderson presented CARA’s College Allies peer-to-peer college retention model at both the Experiential Learning Symposium at Guttman Community College and the Strive for Success Symposium,  “Boosting Community College Persistence through Peer Mentoring and CBO Support”.  

    Sonia Szymanski, Co-Director of CARA’s College Inquiry program, was a panelist discussing, “Tough Calculations: What is College Worth?”. The event, hosted by The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School for Social Research, focused on the rising cost of college and how students and their families determine the best fit for their needs, including how to look at college rankings and the responsiveness of colleges to student needs.

  • Youth Leaders Celebrate Accomplishments from 2017-2018 School Year

    CARA’s Right to College Program celebrated the work of over 115  Youth Leaders from the 2017-2018 school year, showcasing their work and accomplishments.  Congratulations to the graduating Youth Leaders who are heading off to college in the fall. They will be attending many wonderful schools, including: Barnard College, Brooklyn College, Clark Atlanta, Hamilton College, Hobart William Smith, Hunter College, Lehigh University, SUNY Albany, SUNY Oneonta, and Wheaton College.

    Check out this incredible videoproduced by East Side House Settlement’s Student Success Center on the Lehman Campus SSC, which captures the many things Youth Leaders do.


  • Announcing New Partners for College Allies

    After 4 years, College Allies’ Strive for Success (S4S) Program celebrated its last year. CARA trained 150 Peer Leaders who supported over 2400 CUNY community college students through S4S. Thank you to all of our wonderful CBO partners, Campus Coordinators and Peer Leaders who contributed to the success of Strive.

    Using lessons learned from S4S, College Allies is launching new partnerships with the following partners to develop peer-to-peer college retention programming:

Recent News from CARA

February 2018

  • Making Room for More Peer Leaders

    One of CARA’s central goals over the next several years is to expand the reach of peer leadership for college access and success work in New York City. We are pleased to announce that CARA has received two grants to support train-the-trainer work with our Right to College and College Bridge program models. We are honored that the Booth Ferris Foundation and The Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, Inc. are helping us to spread these exciting models. CARA will be codifying and sharing its year-round curriculum with community-based partners (such as Cypress Hills LDC and New Settlement Apartments, among others) as well as coaching and supporting these organizations as they take on this new role. As soon as the summer of 2018, this will bring additional peer leaders to the work of college access in New York City.

  • CARA in the News

    CARA is highlighted as a key non-profit supporting low-income and first generation-to-college students in a recent policy report from the Center for an Urban Future about college success in New York City. “Degrees of Difficulty” investigates the roots of low college completion rates at the City University of New York (CUNY) and recommends promising practices to improve college success in the city, including CARA’s peer-mentoring model. The report received wide coverage in outlets such as the New York Times, New York Daily News, and WNYC.

  • College Retention

    Peer Leaders at Work on CUNY Campuses

    “It kind of pains me to think where I would be now if I didn’t have the ties with my CBO and with Strive …There were just so many problems I had – so much unpreparedness especially during the transition from high school to college… I definitely felt overwhelmed … Being an SSL [myself now] – when I see students I helped out in the past – my heart skips a beat to know that I am helping someone and in turn they are helping me.”

    – Michael Winslow, BMCC Student – Student Success Leader – for Strive for Success Student

    Watch this Strive Video to learn more about Strive for Success (S4S) – a program CARA partnered with CUNY K-16 Initiatives to create with the generous support of The Pinkerton Foundation – and see how it impacts the students it serves, the CBOs it partners with, and the Peer Mentors (Student Success Leaders) it trains.

  • CARA Training

    Returning Coaches Take Leadership Role in College Bridge Training

    This year, CARA has the largest cohort ever of Coaches returning for a second and third year in the College Bridge program; of the 45 Coaches we are training, 23 are returning (16 are in their 2nd year and 7 in their 3rd).

    In order to capitalize on the richness of these Coaches’ experience, several Coaches are working to facilitate small group discussions throughout the training as coaches explore the timeline of spring matriculation work, try out counseling scenarios, and prepare to run workshops in their schools. Returning Coaches have always added an important dimension to CARA training by sharing their wealth of their knowledge about working with students; we are excited to give them the opportunity to further develop their leadership and make our training even more dynamic.

  • Meet a Peer Leader

    Ismail (“Izzy”) Hasaballa, College Bridge Coach - Academy for Careers in Television and Film

    “I had a bumpy transition to college and I struggled with finding the right institution and path. I started at Hunter, but was never really sure why I was there; then I transferred to Eugene Lang, which I really liked but I didn’t understand how unsustainable the financial aid issues would be.

    My work as a College Bridge Coach has played an important role in helping me to understand my own transition to and through college; as I’ve been helping students I’ve also realized exactly why I was struggling and all the resources I wasn’t aware of. I wish I had someone like myself around when I was applying to college

    I love working as a College Bridge Coach and being able to help students avoid those same issues! And it has helped me clarify what I’m interested in studying in college, which is education and counseling.”

  • School Spotlight

    Flushing 9th and 10th Graders Get a Head Start on College College & Career Planning

    In October, Queens High School for Language Studies held the first of three post-secondary planning workshops for the school’s 9th and 10th graders using lessons from CARA’s College Inquiry curriculum such as “Exploring Career Interests.” The workshops are an opportunity for students to explore future pathways early in their high school careers. Principal Melanie Lee remarked, “Taking the time to talk about life after high school, and what to do now, helps students envision their future and builds intrinsic motivation.” 12th Grade Youth Leaders Walter Maldanado, Sephora Thom, Samuel Weng, and Wendy Zhang from the school’s Right To College Program were among the facilitators.