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The Give Something Back Foundation Hosts Two Events on Campus

In February, Saint Peter’s University became the fourth proud recipient of a $1 million gift from the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF) that will allow 50 New Jersey students to attend the University at no cost for tuition, fees, room or board. The Give Something Back Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides Pell Grant-eligible high school students the opportunity to attend college and graduate in four years debt free. The program also stands out by providing students individualized mentors who will inspire them throughout high school and ensure their success when they get to college. The first cohort of scholarship recipients will arrive on campus in 2019. On August 23, GSBF met with future students and mentors at Saint Peter’s.

The GSBF team hosted an ice cream social for scholarship recipients. The event gave these talented high school students a chance to meet each other and the GSBF team. In a few years, the students will attend one of four, soon to be six, participating New Jersey universities including Saint Peter’s University. GSBF has provided these students an amazing opportunity and some of these exceptional students will become future peacocks. For a few, this was their first visit to a college campus.

“Our scholars were really impressed with Saint Peter’s University campus – it was their first time on campus – and we enjoyed getting to know them better in a college environment. These are hardworking students who are going to be an asset to any one of our partner universities in New Jersey,” Kelly Dun, executive director, said.

At the social, Dun, stressed the fact that GSBF wants them all to succeed. The foundation is committed to giving the students the tools that they need, including a support system of fellow students. While enjoying ice cream, the group also discussed their dreams for the future and their reactions when GSBF notified them of their acceptance into the program.

“I started jumping up and down in TJ Maxx when I heard the news. I was really happy,” said Valentina Solorzano, a high school student at Union High School. Another mentioned that she received news of her acceptance on her birthday and that was a great gift.

In the evening, a diverse group of future mentors gathered for a mentor training session. The training was hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties. Mentors are an integral part of the GSBF program as each mentor works one-to-one with a student. Mentors inspire students and show support by helping them in all aspect of their daily lives. They also help students to dream big, set realistic goals, provide feedback and authority, encourage accountability and celebrate success with them.

Yosayra Eusebio, who is an academic adviser at Montclair State University, said that she has been mentoring students at the college level for many years, but she looks forward to working with them at the high school level. She admires GSBF because they are working with students from urban areas and helping them become better prepared for college.

GSBF impressed Melissa Nardini when she met them at a presentation at her alma mater, Montclair State University. “I had never heard of a foundation like this that helps the students for all four years,” she said of the program. Her interest also stemmed from her positive experience with a work mentor. She looks forward to giving back to the community.

Dimitri Reyes says he likes to be active; he is earning an M.F.A. from Rutgers University-Newark, teaches as an adjunct and is a substitute teacher. When he heard about GSBF he knew that he had to become involved. Being the one-to-one mentor to a student stood out to him. He said he had mentored in groups before but has never been the sole mentor. In addition, being around the same age as these students and coming from a disadvantaged background, he believes he can relate to them.

This excellent program is still recruiting mentors to support the scholars through high school. Help GSBF provide support for students and give them the tools they need to be successful in college before they get there. Please consider ‘giving back’ by giving your time as a mentor. If this opportunity sounds interesting to you, apply on their website.