On Friday September 16th, I had the opportunity to attend the C.R.E.A.R Futuros (College Readiness, Achievement and Retention) annual Kick-Off event, which was held on the Macy’s Rooftop located at 34-Street Herald Square. The C.R.E.A.R Futuros program (CREAR) is a mentoring program created by the Hispanic Federation in collaboration with the City University of New York that aims to make sure that Latino students attending college graduate within the expected years of graduation for the degrees sought.
At the CREAR Kick Off, students from the program represented their respective schools which included Bronx Community College, LaGuardia Community College, New York City College of Technology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Herbert H. Lehman College. The students received a welcoming message from the Hispanic Federation Assistant Vice President for Programs Jessica Guzman who spoke about the CREAR program and its goal of helping to boost Latino student GPA, retention, and graduation through peer mentoring, internship opportunities, and connection to social services on and off campus.
Returning peer mentors, Maria Delgado and Olivia Ramirez, shared their experience as mentors and spoke about what the program had done for them. Maria was a mentee in the program when she was a college freshman. She now mentors a cohort of 20 students at John Jay College. After the mentors shared their experiences and gave the audience of students some more tips, the microphone was passed onto Melania Luna, the Vice President and Planning Manager of Macy’s. Melania spoke about the impact that mentoring had on her and her career and emphasized how her mentors have continued to be a source of advice for her.
I worked for the CREAR Futuros program as a peer mentor, with a cohort of 20 students. The program gave me an opportunity to help new incoming freshmen students to adapt to the “college life.” With the help of the Sophomore Year Initiative (SYI), we provided students with weekly workshops and events ranging from career readiness and academic success to counseling sessions and game nights. SYI allowed us to connect the CREAR Futuros mentees with its staff: a counselor, two academic advisors, a career adviser, and a data analyst. I enjoyed working for the program, it allowed me to provide leadership and guidance to students and it helped me to create connections with educators and students alike. I am now a mentor for the mentors, giving them ideas and sharing my experience with them so that they can be effective mentors.
Programs like CREAR should be incorporated in schools of higher learning, especially for those academic institutions that have a high volume of students from underfunded communities, students who may have lacked the college readiness needed to success in academia. CREAR is expanding and growing. It has even now reached the state of Florida. If you support programs like CREAR, make sure to check them out and give it some support!