RSL Ambassador Visit

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by Andrew Chun

This time of the year I always remind myself to be thankful for my education. I went to Brighton High, a quality public school in the suburbs of New York — a place with caring teachers and devoted counselors. Eventually, it was only with Brighton’s nurturing and guidance that I gained admission to Yale, the university of my dreams.

When I went back to Rochester for Thanksgiving break, however, I decided to save the visit to my old school for later. Instead, I went to three different inner-city high schools as an ambassador for ReadySetLaunch. On my visit, I saw kids with great determination and drive to succeed. Yet they lacked the engaging, individualized college counseling that I was able to benefit from at Brighton.

On my visits, I met with school counselors and principals and gave a presentation on the work of ReadySetLaunch. I talked to them about how our mentors help students through the complicated college application process without charge and level the playing field for financially underprivileged high school students and their families.

After speaking with school administrators, I saw how the schools I visited have a variety of things in common. First, they have motivated students that eagerly want to attend college and help their families break out of poverty. Second, to no fault of their own, guidance counselors are constantly overbooked as they are solely responsible for hundreds of students, leaving each student with very little time for individual support. Third, each school could use the assistance of an organization like ReadySetLaunch.

As a new mentor, I had been told what ReadySetLaunch did and what it stood for when I applied. Yet to have firsthand experience with the counselors and students that would potentially be receiving our help was striking. I won’t forget the excitement that grew on their faces as hope filled their eyes as I told them about the help we could provide.

Every Thanksgiving Day I try to be especially thankful for my loving family, my supportive friends, and my superb education. This year I’m thrilled to be able to add my participation with ReadySetLaunch to that list. I can confidently say that my experience as an ambassador has made  me extremely grateful to be a part of this organization. Visiting these schools provided me a memorable sample of how ReadySetLaunch works as a vehicle of hopes and dreams for many of its applicants and mentors.

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