Local Dyson Foundation Awards $600,000 Grant
The Dyson Foundation has awarded Vassar College a grant of $600,000 towards Vassar’s new Exploring College Project (EC). This program focuses on preparing students from low-income and high-academic achievement backgrounds for admission and success in college. The grant will cover two groups of 20 students to be identified from the high school classes of 2012 and 2013. Beginning on January 1, 2009, the program will begin to work with the initial group of 20 students from the Class of 2012. Some of the students selected for EC may also be participants in current Vassar programs in Poughkeepsie schools, including the Vassar After School Tutoring Program (VAST), Vassar’s highly successful tutoring/mentoring program at Poughkeepsie Middle School, and Sistah Power (pictured), a service-learning project for adolescent girls. Each EC student will be assigned two Vassar mentors, one a faculty member or administrator and the second a Vassar student. Beginning in the ninth grade, the students will meet with their mentors at least once each month for group or individual activities designed to provide enrichment and motivation. These activities might include a concert or theatrical performance, an athletic or academic event at Vassar, or a meal or other one-on-one activity. Vassar student mentors will be drawn from the ranks of those who have volunteered in VAST and other Vassar outreach programs. The mentorships will create connections and continuity over the four years of the program as well as guidance for the students and their families at critical points in the college preparation process.