In 2014, Hostos Community College recognized the importance of supporting student-parents and the power of summer classwork. Thanks to a $50,000 from the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund, a new pilot summer program was born.

The unique “two-generation” concept allowed Hostos student-parents to accelerate their postsecondary degrees by enrolling in summer coursework, while simultaneously enrolling their children in Hostos' College for Kids Summer Academy, a high-quality intensive educational summer camp all free of charge.

That pilot program proved to be such a success—registering a nearly 100 percent retention rate—that it grew into something truly special in 2015. Realizing the power of bringing families to college together, Hostos received needed support from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, a contribution from the estate of Frank Denny, as well as $25,000 in donations at the College’s annual fundraiser, to expand the College’s first “Two-Generation Student Retention and Degree Acceleration Program.”

On July 30, 2015, Hostos celebrated the latest cohort of student-parents who made a commitment to higher education for themselves and their children. In all, 29 students and 40 of their children were recognized, which double last year’s class.

At the ceremony, Maximilian Bongior-Nucci, a Radiology Technician major, and Dariana Mercedes, a Nursing major, spoke about how the program is helping them graduate on time, while showing their children the importance of education.

“I was able to attend class while having childcare for my son. Being able to advance in school is really the best part about the program,” Mercedes said.

The benefit of the Two-Generation Student Retention and Degree Acceleration Program is truly two-fold, because the Kids Summer Academy also keeps children involved and engaged and helps prevent the “summer slide” when they return to school.

Bongior-Nucci was also grateful for the support he received, support that is helping him graduate much quicker.

“Taking seven credits toward my degree, while having a safe place for my daughter to go during the week, is something I am really thankful for.”

Robert Frost, President of the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, said everyone at the foundation are thrilled to be a part of such a forward-thing and positive effort.

"We are inspired by the students in the Two-Generations Summer Achievement program. They are making sacrifices to do the right thing by themselves, their families and their communities. Because of this, the Littauer Foundation is very proud to be a sponsor. "

Also attending and addressing the students, their families, friends and supporters was Angela Ríos, Director of Hostos’ Student Success Coaching Unit, and Odalys Díaz Piñeiro, Director of Special Projects for Hostos.

The second annual ceremony was made possible thanks to the Student Success Coaching Unit, the Hostos Health and Wellness Center, and the Hostos Children’s Center.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.