My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Yonkers Partners In Education, Yonkers, NY, USA
I got to know YPIE when I interviewed some students at a college interview day that they had organized. I was impressed by the organization but even more impressed by the kids -- bright and eager to learn, less polished, perhaps, than many I'd interviewed elsewhere but no less able. I decided to volunteer for YPIE.
I started working with students on their college applications, mostly the essays. The first student I worked with had three siblings, each with a different father, her own father had been murdered in front of her apartment building when she was three. Her mother was supportive but the bills were often unpaid and her home life was chaotic. As a result, she was incredibly well organized ... as well as being talented, very bright and intellectually curious.
She was also a perfectionist and would often change her essays (she wrote three) until, a week before the common application was due, she decided to write a new essay. She framed her essay with the story of how she saved up to buy a bike, put it together herself and prayed it would work...
"My life is a lot like that bike. It’s made of many different pieces with varying functions that don’t always seem to fit. Sometimes, I don’t have the tools to keep everything together, but I've learned to improvise or ask for help. Even when I think I've got everything put together, it can all fall apart."
She is now at Harvard studying to be a doctor, although when we last exchanged e-mails she told me that she's added a new hobby -- herpetology (lizards).
Of course, she is an exceptional student but I've now worked with many students who
are hard working and determined to make the most of any opportunity. Many YPIE kids are from families with no college experience and YPIE helps them decode and navigate the application process. But, YPIE begins working with students well before college essay time -- it provides structure and support for students who often do not have it at home thanks to a dedicated and able staff and a corps of volunteer mentors. Homework help, test strategy, life skills or just a sympathetic ear.
If you bemoan inequality in education and wring your hands over your inability to do something to help these "disadvantaged" kids fulfill their potential, please contribute to YPIE. Despite their many challenges, YPIE students work hard and they have earned our support.