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“YPIE has changed my life for the better. YPIE was one of things that helped me grow. No matter where life takes me, I’ll never forget what I did as part of YPIE.”

  • YPIE Scholar, Riverside High School, 2015-2019

  • College Student, Westchester Community College; plan to apply to Fashion Institute of Technology

  • Intended Major: Fashion Design

  • Follow Carmen on Instagram @CarmenJDesigns

How did you become involved with YPIE?

Carmen was familiar with YPIE as she entered 9th grade at Riverside High School. She was involved with YPIE during middle school and had developed a very special bond with a member of the YPIE Staff. When this staff member spoke to Carmen about YPIE, she applied right away.

“I knew this would be an extremely good opportunity for my school life, regents, classes, and homework, and would prepare me for college from an early start. I knew I would get the help I needed that I would not get anywhere else. Not everyone would have this opportunity. I wanted to take this chance so that one day I could help others too."

What was your experience at the YPIE College Zone?

Carmen started at the College Zone preparing for the Regents in Science and Math and getting help with her homework.

“It was very helpful having classes during school, then having YPIE provide extra help I needed after school. If we had additional questions about what we learned during the school day, they would happily help us with whatever questions we had. They were always there for us no matter what.”

Carmen especially enjoyed all the fun activities they did as a group, including the day they played “Just Dance” and all the students danced to songs displayed on the big screen. That day, Carmen met her best friend, who is still her best friend 4 years later.

“I made so many friends at YPIE. People are really nice and supportive at YPIE, even if you don’t know them well or if they don’t go to the same school as you. At YPIE, you always feel you have someone to talk to.”

How did your involvement change as you entered Junior year?

Carmen devoted much of her time after school as a Junior becoming prepared for the college process, including SAT prep, working on her college essay, developing a list of schools, financial support, and planning for college visits.

“Getting the practice was extremely helpful. I am grateful because my tutors were taking their time to help me to order for me to get a higher score. They were with me every step of the way. They tried to help me as much as possible and told me to come whenever I needed help.”

“The YPIE staff was also there when I filled in the FASFA and TAP forms for financial aid and that’s another reason I’m so grateful to be in this program.”

What are you interested in studying?

Carmen has been passionate about fashion since she was 13. “I was always sketching many dresses and outfits. I realized that fashion is something that I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Carmen joined a Fashion Club after school at Riverside and learned how to design clothing, cut fabric, and sew her creations. She participates in their annual fashion shows and models the clothing she has designed.

Through YPIE, she was introduced to a mentor with experience in brand marketing who has helped Carmen to launch her fashion business. “When I learned about this internship, I knew it was perfect for me. I knew I would learn about launching my brand and about the business side of fashion. It has been a head start on learning these things and has been amazing so far. We created an Instagram account so that I can post photos of my designs and photo shoots.”

Carmen also learned about establishing the meaningful behind her fashion brand. “With my clothes, we are sending a message to women and teenage girls about body positivity, self-love, and self-esteem. Some fashion shows make it seems like everyone is perfect – but it’s not real. I want to show the world that there is more than one size and that women should feel positive about their body image and themselves.”

What role have mentors played in your involvement with YPIE?

Carmen has developed close bonds with her graduation coach and many members of the YPIE staff. “My mentors have been extremely helpful because they keep students on track. The YPIE staff are people you can count on when you need them most. I see them as family because that is how much they mean to me. They will always be there for you to make you smile.”

What will you bring to college as a result of your experiences with YPIE?

“I will bring responsibility, maturity, and the courage to go out there and make new friends. When I started with YPIE, I was very shy. Courage is one thing that YPIE taught me.”

“I’ve also learned how to ask for help and express my feelings. YPIE has been the best to help me with everything. I know for sure that I will take everything I learned from YPIE to college with me.”

What will you remember from your experiences with YPIE?

“Being part of YPIE was more than educational. The team was there for help with regents and college, but they were also there for me emotionally. I have made so many new and amazing friends that I wouldn’t change for the world.

“YPIE has changed my life for the better. YPIE was one of things that helped me grow. No matter where life takes me, I’ll never forget what I did as part of YPIE.”

Posted June 2019

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