NEWBURGH – The week before the Fall 2018 semester came to a close, the freshman class of Mount Saint Mary College’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) enjoyed mentoring the kids of the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh, N.Y.
The Mount students worked on paper crafts, computer literacy, and more with the children, who ranged in age from about 5 to 13 and hail from the Newburgh area. The HEOP students also hoped to instill in the youth that they too could achieve a college education.
“The main purpose of this event was for our students to stress the message that it is never too early to start thinking about being successful,” explained Andres Carpio, HEOP academic counselor at the Mount. Carpio joined the HEOP freshmen at the Boys and Girls Club, leading by example. “Community is a core value at the Mount and this is certainly a value that we instill in all of our HEOP students.”
The Mount’s HEOP provides educational opportunity and support to traditionally underserved students who have strong academic potential, but would otherwise be excluded from higher education due to circumstances of academic and economic disadvantage.
It’s a tradition for the HEOP freshman class to conduct an annual outreach event in the City of Newburgh during the fall semester, to help foster relationships with local organizations and to educate local youth on college preparedness.
“Many of our HEOP students came to us from programs like The Boys and Girls Club and Upward Bound, and sharing these similarities allows our students to connect with these [younger] students,” said Caprio. “Our HEOP students were able to see the impact that they can have on younger populations.”
Caprio added, “All of the children that our students worked with were very grateful – but by the end of the event, our students were grateful too, for the opportunity to work with and positively influence the youth.”