About a year ago, RSVP volunteer Dr. Maria Marzan became a Graduation Coach at Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE). She was inspired by the impact education had on her own life. She explains, “It’s very personal for me. I identify with students. I’ve been through their journey. All of them have potential, but there are not enough resources to support their path to college.”
YPIE (www.ypie.org) works with students from ninth grade through their first two years of college to ensure that they are prepared for, enroll in and complete their higher education. YPIE confronts the challenges of a low-income, urban school district by providing families with equitable access to the critical tools and services necessary for academic excellence.
The key to the success of the YPIE Scholars Program are the dedicated volunteer Graduation Coaches like Dr. Marzan who make a four-year commitment to work with YPIE Scholars twice a month.
As a YPIE Graduation Coach, Dr. Marzan (who earned a doctorate in health education at Teachers College, Columbia University), was paired last school year with a freshman named Janet. Dr. Marzan and Janet formed a wonderful supportive relationship.
Dr. Marzan helped Janet to find the courage to come out of her shell and to enroll in YPIE’s Summer Social Entrepreneurship Program. At that program’s final symposium presentation, several students, including Janet, expressed their personal gratitude for their coaches’ encouragement and support.
This year, Dr. Marzan will continue to work with Janet (now a high school sophomore), as well as one other sophomore, through their senior years of high school. In addition to the twice-monthly coaching, YPIE Scholars receive rigorous after-school academic instruction twice a week at the YPIE College Zone, led by YPIE instructors.
“YPIE is very fortunate to have Dr. Maria Marzan as one of our Graduation Coaches. As a mentor to two high school sophomores, she listens to and connects students with opportunities in the community as well as coaches them on a wide array of life skills — from self-advocacy to study habits,” said Steve Cruz, YPIE’s Senior Program Manager.
YPIE’s outstanding student college enrollment rates and academic achievement depend on dedicated volunteers like Maria Marzan. Janet is fortunate to have a devoted mentor who will be by her side as she navigates her educational path and future opportunities. Dr. Marzan feels equally fortunate. “I’m glad to work with this comprehensive organization and their professional staff who set high but attainable goals for students.”
YPIE has a network of 200+ Coaches and is working with more than 1,200 students this year. Each year YPIE recruits a new class of YPIE Coaches and Scholars. To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit www.ypie.org/volunteer.