The Middlesex College Success Bound program was selected as the winner of the Excellence in Educational & Interpretive Programming Award by the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association.
The award was presented in May at a ceremony at the Summit Family Aquatic Center in Summit, NJ.
“The goal of the awards program is to focus state attention on the achievement of parks and recreation agencies, to recognize the continuing efforts of staff and volunteers, and to acknowledge support extended by member agencies,” said Karen Zimmerman, co-chair of the awards committee.
Success Bound is a five-week summer program for students from Perth Amboy High School and the Academy for Urban Leadership. The program combines classroom work – for which the students receive college credit – with career exploration and an internship at a local nonprofit or government agency.
“This idea was conceived out of an inspiring conversation between Ken Ortiz, director of human services for the City of Perth Amboy and Yamillet Febo-Gomez, director of grants at Middlesex College, at the table in the Recreation Department,” said Helmin Caba, mayor of Perth Amboy. “Since then, the program grew to exceed expectations and became the archetype for youth development in career readiness in our city. I want to thank the visionaries of Success Bound, Ken, Yamillet, and José Laureano, executive dean for student and enrollment services, for their collaboration in making our scholars rise.”
After completing the program, students are eligible to enroll free of charge in an introductory course at Middlesex College for Fall or Spring.
“Success Bound aims to equip our scholars with the support they will need to be a successful student prepared for college by learning time management, how to work in groups, goal setting, the College and financial aid application process, and career exploration,” said Angelo Abreu, director of Middlesex College’s Perth Amboy Center. “Our scholars experienced a jam-packed session of college readiness workshops, and they engaged with professionals in a multitude of industries. Success Bound was able to fulfill the mission of the program in the virtual arena and managed to have our students feel connected and engaged while remote.”
Each afternoon, students would participate in a paid internship. These included the YMCA, the Business Improvement District, Puerto Rican Association for Human Development, as well as the City’s Census, Office of Social Services and Housing, and the Recreation Department.
“The goal of Success Bound is to make sure our scholars know that college is a real option for them,” Abreu said.