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1999 Best Practices
Success Stories

Program Name: Youth Orientation to College
Program Focus: Empowerment
Geographic Area: Southeast/ Caribbean
State: Kentucky
City: Maysville

Executive Summary
In order to meet the educational goals of residents, HUD’s Kentucky office initiated a program called "Youth Orientation to College," which strives to help disadvantaged students of all ages succeed in higher education. The program is offered to residents of the Housing Authority of Maysville and consists of an initial summer semester held on-site at the Beechwood Community Center. Teachers recruited from nearby Maysville Community College create a classroom setting in the community center and help to acclimate students to the demands of college-level coursework. Students take 12 credit hours of preparation in the liberal arts, sciences, and technical fields before attending formal courses in the fall at Maysville Community College. Financial aid is available for eligible students.

This program was established to calm the apprehension and meet the needs of many youth living in public housing that wish to further their education. With the creation of this on-site orientation program, the transportation requirements and concerns about after-school child care were eliminated. In addition, worries about acclimation and academic performance were significantly reduced. The summer session greatly improved both resident enrollment and participation in classes while reinforcing the motivation of the instructors. The program took and continues to take large strides in showing HUD’s commitment to enhance the quality of life for those dependent on its services. Considerable support for the program came from the City of Maysville, the local police force, the YMCA, County Executive and the United Way. These groups and agencies provided the facility upgrades, security, lunches, daycare, after-school care, and support that helped make this program such a success.

Residents were very excited about the availability of courses in computer science, algebra and history. One student completed her associate’s degree in three semesters, while others pursued careers in business, law enforcement and administrative support upon graduating from the program.

Despite the success, organizers did encounter a few challenges along the way. For example, several residents were hesitant about committing to any computer awareness program that extended beyond 12 weeks, but were happy to participate in a three-week program. Some residents used their federal Pell grants for purposes other than education. The president of the community college and program staff surmounted these obstacles by continuing to support, motivate and encourage residents to achieve. Professors, administrators and staff of both the program and Maysville Community College were amply rewarded by the smiles on the faces of the residents and their families during the graduation ceremonies.

Beechwood Community College, Maysville Community College, YWCA, City of Maysville, and Maysville Police Department.

Financing: City of Maysville, United Way, and Pell Grants.

Point of Contact: Bruce Hanna, Phone: (606) 564-4409, E-mail: bhanna50@hotmail.com

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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