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"One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." -Malala Yousafzai

These have been difficult times for everyone and for many youth, the challenges of the pandemic have had a life-altering impact. Sadly, going to college for many of our young people has either been put on hold or is no longer an option. Compared to 2019, 22% fewer 2020 high school graduates went directly to college this year with even fewer, 29%, from low income high schools. The class of 2021 is also at risk.

While these are indeed bleak statistics, our Oasis College Connection team has been hard at work during this critical time helping young people realize their college dreams in spite of the challenges. Last year, the team had to pivot from the usual face-to-face meetings in 10 area high schools to finding new methods of outreach that included using a text-based platform, phone calls, and email. This past year, our College Connection Mentors made nearly 3,800 calls and sent over 3,400 emails to youth in an effort to keep young people on their college-going track.

Our College Connection team is known for their unstoppable, do-whatever-it-takes, commitment to helping youth get into college. We all remember what it was like to navigate applications, essays, financial aid, etc., and for first-generation youth, it can all be overwhelming especially during a pandemic. Fortunately, our College Connection team is back in the schools and has even welcomed a few new team members!

"I've always loved working with young people and encouraging them to see, believe, and pursue their potential. Our team at Oasis College Connection centers that empowerment every day. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve young people alongside a group of such passionate and talented mentors and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!" - Nina, Oasis College Connection Mentor