College Access Now (CAN!)

Blog Post from Veratta Pegram-Floyd

When asked to write a blog entry over the summer, some suggested guidelines were offered for topics of discussion. Some suggestions were reflections on the Best Practices course (if you took that class this summer) and/or summer internship experience. I did not have an internship this summer and although I did take Best Practices, I decided I wanted to focus on my newer position within the field. My name is Veratta Pegram-Floyd and as of April 3, 2012, I am and have been the College Persistence Program Supervisor for the non-profit organization, College Access Now (CAN!). CAN is an organization created to educate first generation and low-income students on the college admissions process to enable access to college for those who may not have previously viewed college as an option. In terms of direct service with our students, there is a High School program and the College Persistence program I oversee.

The High School (HS) program works with juniors and seniors at Garfield, Franklin, West Seattle, Roosevelt, Chief Sealth, and Nathan Hale to assist students in the application to college process. The College Persistence (CP) program builds upon the foundation of the HS program by supporting our HS alumni students while they persist in college through to degree completion (2 year and 4 year). The CP program is new to the organization and will be entering its second year in September, with this year being its first official year. In my role as the CP Program Supervisor, I supervise four AmeriCorps direct service members who support our students to accomplish the following:

·         Renew FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) each year

·         Enroll for the following term

·         Declare major

·         Get connected to resources on campus

·         Two-year transfer to four year institution

Over the past year, CAN has prepared for and has doubled in size. With expansion and growth comes stress, even if you are an individual who is open to change.  My concerns for the incoming year (which begins on September 4th!) is the support of our students to ensure that they persist within their respective institutions for another year, creation of a work environment that is conducive to my AmeriCorps members’ goals for the year, and further development of a program that has so many opportunities for success, growth, and development. Truth moment: there are times when I doubt myself and my abilities. This has nothing to do with lack of confidence in myself, but because it is a lot of pressure to be in charge of a program that is new to the organization. As each day passes, I feel better about my role and have more confidence in what I offer the organization and our students but I will never feel completely confident that I have this college persistence “thing” down. At the end of the day, I find that to be the most humbling and what will push me to make the CAN College Persistence program the best I can. For more information on College Access Now, please visit us at www.collegeaccessnow.org or you can like us on Facebook!

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One thought on “College Access Now (CAN!)

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Veratta! I volunteered for a similar organization in Portland called ASPIRE, while I was an undergraduate, and it is a really necessary area of work. Now that I work in the community college system, I see this all the time: first-gen or other students who simply don’t know how to prepare or get started in college because they don’t have that cultural capital passed on to them. Those of us in this program are so fortunate to have that cultural capital and to be as successful in our educational paths as we are! Thanks for showing everyone that this is yet another avenue for us to use our degrees and promote higher education for others. And as far as the self-doubt goes, don’t worry, you are not alone! I think everyone in leadership positions experience that to some degree, but just know that you belong there and that your self-awareness is a sign that you’re doing a good job!

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