Riverdale, NY – It doesn’t always take a village to raise a child. In the case of this year’s Summer Literacy Institute, it took a community – a Manhattan College community – of faculty, administrators and alumni, who each drew upon their individual talents to equip more than two dozen low-income teens in New York City with the tools to succeed in the future. And they made learning fun.

During the week-long outreach program, a dedicated group of current Manhattan students and recent alumni worked one-on-one to help 30 high school students to develop and write their college admissions essays. Meanwhile, philosophy professor David Bollert, Ph.D., biology professor Michael Judge Ph.D., and religious studies professor Stephen Kaplan, Ph.D., presented lectures in their respective areas of study.

These academic modules, as well as the numerous cultural excursions that took place during the experience, were facilitated by the Center for Academic Success, which founded and has been leading the program since 2010.

In its latest installment, students came to Manhattan College from several Bronx high schools, including Saint Raymond’s High School for Boys, Cardinal Hayes High School, and Hyde Leadership Charter School, as well as the Union Square Academy for Health in downtown Manhattan.

At its core, the Institute’s goal is to create a semblance of what it’s like to take part in campus life (i.e. living in the residence halls, waking up for class, preparing for exams, etc.), so that students can envision themselves in that environment. Its purpose is to also help them navigate the college application process. To assist in that area, the students met with Tiffany Corbett, who serves as assistant director of Admissions and Financial Aid.

In its entirety, the program’s mission is directly in line with that of Manhattan College, which lauds concern for the poor and instills a dedication to offering a quality education for all those who seek it. Many of the teens who are chosen to participate in the Institute may not otherwise have the resources or advisement to undergo the often rigorous college application process. Offering that support results in a lasting difference for all involved, according to Marisa Passafiume, Assistant Vice President for Academic Success.

“[The program] really speaks to what the Lasallian mission is – providing a quality education to all students who need it, and expecting nothing in return. They’re able to learn with us for a week and take that knowledge back home to their families,” she says.

But learning occurs inside the classroom and around New York City, which is why Passafiume and her team organized visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rubin Museum of Art. Additionally, the students caught an evening production of A Bronx Tale on Broadway.

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