On October 18th, 2016, Saheli launched the College Readiness Program for South Asian Girls. The program is funded by a generous grant from the Watertown Community Foundation to help female South Asian students in Watertown public schools prepare for college and their future careers. The kick-off event was held at Watertown High School and was attended by fifteen students, two mothers, five teachers, Watertown Community Foundation representative David Siegel, Saheli staff, and five volunteer mentors. Over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, students will be paired with volunteer mentors who will assist them with homework, college applications, and identifying their academic and extracurricular strengths to prepare for careers after high school.
Gul Shamim, Saheli’s College Readiness Program Coordinator, began the event by referring to an African proverb that also is common in South Asia: “If you educate a boy, you educate one person. If you educate a girl, you educate the whole family, the whole nation.” She outlined three components of the College Readiness Program:
- Matching students with mentors who will guide them through the college application process
- Identifying students’ strengths and weaknesses and giving them the resources to help them develop their strengths and improve areas of weakness
- Hosting college search and application workshops based on students’ interests, experiences, and needs
Students and parents had the opportunity get to know mentors and schedule future meetings. Over the coming weeks, students will begin weekly meetings with mentors. The first college search workshop will be held in late November.