college

These ‘Pushy Moms’ Help Underprivileged Students Get into Top Colleges

college

Attending college can be difficult for many, as the costs can get absolutely unbearable. At LaGuardia Community College in New York City, many of the students come from families earning less than $25,000 a year, often making it very hard for students who wish to transfer to a four-year college.

This is where “Pushy Moms” come into the picture. Karen Dubinsky, the school’s chief engagement officer, started the Pushy Moms Program two years ago as a way to help kids find the right path for their education. She recently told CBS how her own experience helping her kids get into college inspired her to start the program:

“What our kids had that these kids don’t is the basic confidence that they were going to go to college. So meeting deadlines, getting everything in order, without somebody pushing them, is very hard. Without someone saying, ‘Did you get that essay in?’ Or, ‘When is that due?’ ‘Do you need to take a test?’ And they say, ‘Oh, thank you for telling me that.’”

Since it’s inception, the volunteers have helped about 40 students, enabling some students to transfer to schools like Columbia, UC Berkeley, Miami, and Smith College in Massachusetts. One former student, Zoraida Colon, explained how Pushy Moms helped her get into a program to study sociology at Smith:

“Just the insight to know that I can move forward, and that a lot of times, coming from a community college, you might feel like less than or you might feel like, ‘I’m not prepared for this big private school that has a great name.’ But just support and just being empathetic as well and knowing – but also not too empathetic. She gives you a little bit like, a nudge, like your mom.”

The program succeeds by providing high expectations for these students who have been routinely discouraged, as Pamela Weinberg, a Pushy Mom volunteer, explains:

“When someone is setting a bar for you, your natural inclination is to want to reach that bar and to reach that goal. And our students, by and large, really do.”

I love this. What better way to allow students and moms to mentor each other?


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Joanna Valente

Joanna Valente is the Editorial Assistant at Kveller. She is the author of Sirs & Madams The Gods Are Dead, and Marys of the Sea (forthcoming), and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. You can follow her @joannasaid on Twitter, @joannacvalente on Instagram, or email her at joanna@kveller.com.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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