It’s not easy to navigate the thicket of applications, forms, and statements required for college. The red tape often deters young people from applying to college at all. That’s why I chose to be a Team Leader for New York Care’s FAFSA Prep Workshop. In the Fall of 2017, my team and I worked at schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, assisting students and their families with completing the applications for federal and state-based financial aid. At this point in my life, it’s clear to me how profoundly important higher education is. I would not be where I am today, geographically, mentally, fiscally, or professionally, without college, and I would not have gone to college without financial aid.
When I was in high school, I didn’t have this perspective. I focused more on the short-term than the long term, and I didn’t care about submitting some document to the federal government. Luckily for me, I had a mom who did. The FAFSA workshop is vital because there are many kids out there who feel like I felt, but aren’t blessed with the support system that I had.
When I think about where I would be without my education, I want to do two things: kiss my mother, and run to the nearest high school senior and make sure that they submit their FAFSA. If education made you who you are, I encourage you to volunteer for FAFSA prep and help the youth in your community cut through the most important piece of red tape in their lives.