San Antonio College hosted Build Your Future: A Conference for Young Men on Friday, February 12 on the SAC campus. Presented in partnership with Communities In Schools San Antonio, the Diplomás project, and My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio, Build Your Future focused on providing 150 high school juniors and seniors with tools and information to aid their transition to college.
The conference featured remarks from San Antonio College Interim Vice President for Student Success Dr. Lisa Alcorta and a keynote address from City Councilman Rey Saldaña. Breakout sessions were led by members of SAC’s Men Empowerment Network (MEN) program as well as representatives from the Alamo Colleges Police Department (ACPD) and SAC’s financial aid office. Session topics included: applying to college; financial aid and scholarships; tips to surviving college; expectations of being a college student; and interacting with law enforcement. Following the breakout sessions, participants enjoyed lunch, toured campus, and had the opportunity to visit with different departments at SAC to learn about potential career and course of study options.
“Build Your Future is about our SAC MEN giving back to the community by helping local high school students begin thinking about going to college,” said Director of Retention Support Services and SAC MEN advisor Mona Aldana-Ramírez. “This is a unique opportunity for high school students to hear directly from peers who were in their position just a few years ago.”
This conference was the idea of our male students of color who attended the Texas Male Leadership Summit at the University of Texas, in August. They returned with a true sense of empowerment and felt the strong need to share their college experience with young men in the community. The summer symposium made an impact on our college students and felt inspired to return to San Antonio and promote a college-going culture.
Communities In Schools San Antonio is the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to helping at-risk students stay in school and succeed in life. Based directly inside schools throughout Bexar County, Communities In Schools connects children and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Communities In Schools identified and recruited participants for “Build Your Future” from nine different area high school: Highlands, Burbank, John Jay, McCollum, Edison, Lanier, Harlandale, Memorial and South San.
Communities In Schools of San Antonio is excited to be a part of the Build Your Future conference,” said Communities In Schools of San Antonio CEO Jessica Weaver. “With many students being the first to attend college, this experience allows our high school boys to learn from young men who are already on the college path. This is very much in keeping with city-wide efforts like My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio, which seeks to ensure that all youth in the city finish high school and complete post-secondary education or training. This conference is a fine example of how San Antonio can come together to support and empower young men of color to achieve their goals and succeed.”
Run by the San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP), the Diplomás project is a multi-year grant-funded initiative aimed at increasing Latino higher education attainment. Funded by the Lumina Foundation, a national financial supporter of post-secondary Latino students attainment efforts, the Diplomás project aimed specifically at creating an alignment between efforts of school districts and community colleges to create a seamless transition for San Antonio students.
A national initiative, My Brother’s Keeper began as a community challenge from President Barak Obama, encouraging city leaders to implement a coherent life-impact strategy, aiding boys and men of color in reaching their full potential regardless of life’s circumstances. Locally, My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio coordinates with other strategies that connect youth with opportunity and help young people build healthy relationships with themselves, their families, and their community.
Congratulations to San Antonio College and our young men from SAC MEN for putting this successful event together. We look forward to hearing more about what our partners across the state are doing