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Although students of all ages are having to adapt quickly to online learning, perhaps no one has experienced more of an uncertain shift than high school seniors. But at NYC Outward Bound Schools, the Class of 2020 can rest assured that they have a support system in place as they transition to college.

A new group of Crew Mentors, who are all alumni of NYC Outward Bound Schools, are currently training to provide one-on-one peer support to Crews of younger mentees during their first year of college. This program, which began in 2018, is part of the suite of supports offered to students as part of NYC Outward Bound Schools’ To & Through College program. College Access: Research and Action (CARA) is providing consultation and training as the Crew Mentor program expands.

Led by Alumni Manager Yana Geyfman, the virtual trainings are assisted by current Crew Mentors Laiba Ghumman, an alum of Leaders High School and Sundaeglen Johnson, an alum of Kurt Hahn.

“During COVID-19, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of students who reached out,” said Jessica Sasko, Director of College Supports at NYC Outward Bound Schools. “Sundaeglen and Laiba have been an incredible support, keeping both students and our To & Through team abreast of all changes and updates that are coming to them directly from their colleges. Peer mentors have a unique, insider and timely stream of updates from campuses and help us reach out to students more immediately.”

The new group of Crew Mentors includes Jah-ni Fleary (Kurt Hahn ’18), a sophomore studying sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College; Renell Huggins (MELS ’19), a freshman studying forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Amani Ortiz (Leaders ’18), a sophomore studying psychology at St. Francis College, and Maleka Stewart (Channel View ’15), who graduated from Middlebury College in 2019 with a degree in biochemistry.

A special thank you to our partners who provide dedicated funding for the Crew Mentors program: the John A. Reisenbach Foundation and the Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund, and all the supporters of our To & Through College program.

Learn about available resources for alumni during COVID-19

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