In our field of work, we are constantly reminded of the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” We provide the nutrition piece that many children are missing, but we could not do that without the incredible work of our after school partners. Our Hunger Relief Heroes fill many other crucial gaps by providing resources like tutoring, mentoring, extracurricular activities, STEAM programming, community building, life skills, college prep, and so much more. Simply having a place to go after school can be a game changer for some children - enjoying a balanced meal alongside enrichment activities can positively influence the trajectory of a child’s life.
We want you to meet the amazing organizations that we work with to support happy, healthy youth in our communities. First up is an organization we worked with prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. They had to shut their doors and transition to virtual programming in March of 2020, but they are scheduled to return to in-person programming for the first time next month! Let us (re)introduce our outstanding Hunger Relief Hero, College Track New Orleans!
College Track New Orleans first opened its doors in 2008 with a mission of ensuring all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, earn a college degree and achieve social mobility. They offer 3 core program areas to support and prepare students from freshman year of high school through their college graduation. That’s right, College Track gives each student a 10-year commitment!
The first core program area College Track offers is Academic Affairs, which includes academic coaching, ACT test preparation, and summer programs for math acceleration and credit recovery. Student Life is the second core program which offers service learning opportunities, guided dream declaration, and social-emotional wellness support. The last program area is College Completion which provides college application coaching, college exposure & campus events, internship support & professional development, and scholarship & financial aid guidance. College Track values that every student deserves the opportunity to dream big, and they equip their students with the skills and support to achieve those dreams.
Research shows that Louisiana ranks 48th in college attainment, with only 30% of the population earning a bachelor’s degree and the rate falls to 18.3% for African American youth. Today, College Track is the largest college completion program in New Orleans serving more that 400 students on their educational path to college.
College Track currently has 438 students enrolled, of which:
99% identify as students of color
94% matriculate to a two or four-year university, and
80% are first generation college students
TOP is honored to partner with such a strong organization in the New Orleans community by providing nutritional support during their after school programming. Operations Coordinator, Isadora Stevens, expressed, “We decided to seek out TOP because part of College Track’s mission is to provide our students with all the resources they need to be successful, including a full belly.” She continued by saying, “It is so important that children get proper nourishment for their minds as well as their bodies. TOP allows us to meet this need.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Isadora! Supporting the whole child is key to their healthy development and future success. TOP would not be able to reach these future college graduates without the College Track program and its wonderful leaders. Together, the TOP and College Track village will lift up these kiddos with the support they need as they reach their full potential!
For more information on College Track, please visit their website here.
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