Students at LaGuardia Community College are getting some much needed support thanks to volunteers known as 'pushy moms.' Our Cheryl Wills explains.
Sladjan Milenkovic is an international student at LaGuardia Community College and seeks advice from a volunteer who serves as his so-called 'pushy mom' on campus.
"When I first heard about it, it was like 'Okay I’m almost 25, I don’t think I need a pushy mom,'" Milenkovic said. "But then I started talking to Jennifer and she asked what I planned to write about and structure my essay and I realized I do need a pushy mom."
About two years ago, LaGuardia Community College enlistsed a group of feisty moms who were willing to mentor students in need of an extra push. Karen Dubinsky came up with the idea.
"I knew all of these other moms who had spent terrific time and energy and resources helping their kids transfer to college and I said what a wasted resource — you’re children are in college now — what are they gonna do and I said I’ve got these students — I’ve got these moms let’s bring them together," Dubinsky said.
Ten moms, including Jennifer Gardner Trulson, an attorney and author, signed up.
"I think it’s very hard for someone who hasn’t grown up in a culture of education especially to know how to navigate all of the ins and outs of getting into college, financial aid, deadlines — the essay especially I think is where I come in the most handy," Trulson said.
Milenkovic plans to transfer to a four year college next year and Trulson is helping him fine-tune his essay.
LaGuardia students come from more than 150 different countries and they speak more than 125 native languages. Milenkovic moved to New York City three years ago from Serbia.
"I’m not a native English speaker and I’m the first generation to go to college in my family so it’s very intimidating to go to college in my family so it’s really nice to have someone like Jennifer in your corner," he said.
"I’m opening a door and helping them walk through it," his mentor said. "And so every time they do — it’s a triumph."