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  • Writer's pictureCollege 1st Program

College 1st Program Goes Virtual

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

College 1st Program Launches Virtual Career Exploration CAMPs and Family Engagement Sessions.

Written by Ivan Aguillon

As students rush into a virtual classroom where they log-in 10 minutes prior to the start of their Virtual CAMP, they test their mic and speakers in the Zoom Platform and wear their blue College 1st Shirt with pride. They are excited to embark on a new college and career exploration journey for the first of six College 1st Virtual CAMPs they've enrolled in, to find a career they are passionate about, and to better prepare for their future.

While the world adapts to a new reality, the education industry is one that carries the biggest burden, they are responsible for educating the future global professional workforce and leaders, including our future doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, teachers, business leaders, and politicians to tackle the challenges the COVID era has sprouted. Research shows that a global economic or pandemic event of this magnitude would affect people across different countries, and enrollment to universities and degree-completion rates would decrease considerably in the months and years that follow. This has a detrimental effect for our future economy, and can negatively trend towards an increase of a global poverty rate.

Over the past few months, we have seen how the COVID-19 world pandemic has impacted our communities in an unfathomable manner, affecting our students and their families vastly, leaving them with their post-secondary goals and economic future in limbo.

Since COVID-19 shut the US economy in mid-March, the College 1st Program rapidly shifted into survival mode in an effort to adapt to our new reality. To keep their mission alive, the College 1st Team developed a new Virtual College and Career success curriculum and mentorship strategies to continue the mission to empower students for college and career success whilst students and parents sheltered at home.

The College 1st office was transformed into a mini manufacturing warehouse, where College 1st team members worked diligently, investing long hours into packaging supplies into Virtual CAMP boxes, and ultimately delivering them to each one of our students via curbside pickup or direct mail.

Students were able to join the Virtual CAMPs from the comfort of their homes, in their automobiles while commuting, and others at their work sites. The Virtual CAMPs allow students to engage in academic enrichment activities and explore different college and career choices to become successful in their future.

“I enjoyed the learning, I enjoyed the activities that we did in this CAMP. They seem like they focused on getting us to learn more stuff that we can do later on in life. And this will help us because, right now a lot of kids don’t know what to do in their lives, they're stuck. And I just think this is a good opportunity because it helps kids find out what they want to do for a living.” -Ruben P. Jr., Point Isabel ISD Student.

As of today, the College 1st Program have successfully implemented over 32 Virtual CAMPs for Elementary, Middle School and High School students, and over 6 Family Sessions for 9 school districts.

“This helps and gives people an idea, like if they don’t know what to do when they grow up, this can give them an idea of what is interesting and meets their mindset, so it allows them to try. And I really like it because it gives you a good opportunity of what you can see (explore), and how your future will look.” -Madeline C., Raymondville ISD, Student.

The College 1st Program has been working in this new virtual initiative in partnership with several school districts, post-secondary institutions and local foundations to continue serving students academically, as they prepare for college and career success.

"We must remain optimistic and hopeful for our future!" said Ernesto Villarreal, College 1st Executive Director. "We are ever grateful to all our partners for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to shift the College 1st Program from on-site to now virtually". Villarreal concluded.

For more information about the College 1st Program, please contact us at 1-877-499-8544 or by clicking this link to learn more about our Virtual CAMP Program.

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