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

Fall 2018


    On September 25th, CARA’s co-director, Janice Bloom, joined director Julie Dressner and former Youth Leader Karoline Jimenez for a screening of Personal Statement at the National College Access Network national conference in Pittsburgh.
    The film was also shown in September at the annual conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in Salt Lake City.
  • CUNY Graduate Center hosts 1st film screening in NYC

    CARA was proud to then host the first New York City screening of the film on October 10th at the CUNY Graduate Center.  It was great to have so many of our school and CBO partners, funders, and young people, together for the event.


    We were honored to have CUNY’s Interim Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz open the evening and remind us of the critical role CUNY has played in serving first-generation college students. Kesi Foster, lead organizer from Make the Road NY, framed the film by explaining the youth organizing movement that led to the model of youth leadership for college access portrayed in the film; and CARA co-Director Lori Chajet traced the growth of a peer-to-peer model for college access and retention from 16 peer leaders in 2007 to over 400 in 2018.

  • A panel with peer leaders in the film and partner organizations

    After the laughter and tears evoked by the film, the audience had the opportunity to hear from two of the film’s stars – Karoline Jimenez and Enoch Jemmott – as well as the filmmaker, Julie Dressner, and Emily Van Ingen, Deputy Director of Cypress Hills LDC.

    Both the panelists and closing speaker, Adilke Pimentel of the Urban Youth Collaborative, spoke to the need for continued advocacy to increase opportunities and supports for all low income students in the college process – and the power of a peer-to-peer model for doing so.


  • More screenings happening this Fall

    For those of you who missed it, there are several other opportunities to see the film in the next few weeks:

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: