CBS2's Alecia Reid went inside Lehman College, where hundreds of students are part of the Alice Griffin CUNY Scholars Program.
With classes starting a week from Thursday, 200 young people met for the first time due to COVID. They were tutored by volunteers from iMentor, a nonprofit that helps kids get through high school. Now, a $1 million gift from iMentor's founder is helping them attend college, and they're getting prepped for what's to come.
"These students need support, they need guidance, they need cheerleading, and that is why we're really happy to provide this for them," said Scott Millstein, executive director of iMentor NYC.
Yarys Lopez is a first-generation college student. The 19-year-old comes from a single-parent household where cash is tight. She, and other students, get between $1,000-3,000. She credits iMentor for where she is now.
"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be in college at all. If it wasn't for the scholarship, I wouldn't be here either," she said.
Lopez graduated from a high school that struggles with attendance and where students face socio-economic challenges. Those schools are targeted by iMentor in order to break the cycle. Some students even get relief funds when bills are backed up.
"Especially since I was the only one bringing the income to my family, they helped me with bills, if I needed to, like, pay Con Ed bills, emergency food relief," Lehman sophomore Carlos Morales said.
The founder of iMentor launched the program in honor of his mother, who taught at Lehman for over 40 years.
Now, these college students have similar thoughts of giving back to others facing similar challenges.
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