YMCA ‘camp’ helps low-income students plan for college

High school students from low-income families are getting a taste of college life at an innovative program called YMCA College Camp.

Nearly 40 students who just finished their sophomore year in high school are spending the week touring college campuses, attending workshops, speaking with career professionals and student mentors, and participating in a community service project all while staying at the Atherton YMCA student residence.

The idea is to let them know that college is attainable as well as affordable.

Students say the experience also empowers them to overcome obstacles along the way.

“Even just grades and everything, obstacles get thrown my way all the time and it’s just my choice to steer around them and do the right path that I want to go on,” said student Sarah Salemi.

“It made me want to do something. It made me want to prepare for it,” said student Louie Sicorsicon. “It made me want to get a head start on it and I think that’s what College Camp did for many of us.”

This fall, some College Camp students will attend University of Hawaii at Manoa, Princeton and Harvard universities.

The program launched in 2012 thanks to a grant from Y-USA.

For more information on the program, visit athertonymca.org.

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