Watch CBS News

NYC public schools' iMentor program teams up with CUNY schools to ensure students go to college, graduate in 4 years

CUNY schools, NYC's iMentor program help students with college
CUNY schools, NYC's iMentor program help students with college 01:57

NEW YORK -- The largest mentoring program in the New York City public school system has teamed up with two CUNY schools to ensure students not only go to college, but graduate within four years.

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.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.