YCCOSP Graduates Make Contributions to Their Community
The York College Community Opportunity Scholarship Program provided William Penn Senior High School students with a jumpstart on their education. Now, they’re making strides to give back.
Many of them came to York College of Pennsylvania in hopes of breaking generational poverty, to be the first in their family to obtain a degree, or with the simple goal of jumpstarting their education.
The York College Community Opportunity Scholars Program (YCCOSP) started in 1989 in partnership with Crispus Attucks and the York City School District. Students selected for the program receive four years of tuition-free education, along with room and board. They also get connected to the College as early as possible, meeting students and faculty, and learning how their hometown offers unique experiences that can change the course of their lives.
Many YCCOSP graduates now give back to their communities. The investment made in them has created dividends that are experienced throughout the local area.
We spoke with Samantha Ferguson ’10, Finance, Owner and strategist at William Penn Insurance LLC; and Joshua Santiago’ 10, Mass Communication, Founder and CEO of C&P Media, to learn how they engage with the community today.
How do you feel being a YCCOSP student helped prepare you for what you do now?
Ferguson: “We did résumé workshops every year. I can tailor a résumé to fit a job, but better yet, to get a contract now with carriers and companies that have a product I want to sell. I review résumés to hire now and can pick out any mistakes and judge the level of dedication and understanding to the position.”
What does that sense of community mean to you now as an alumnus/alumna?
Santiago: “Being a YCCOSP graduate, community means everything to me. If I could inspire one person to do something positive, then that’s what it’s all about. I recently had an event at the Valencia Ballroom showing my short films, and we had YCCOSP students volunteering their time for community service hours. I made sure I introduced myself to all of them and I shared that I was in their shoes years ago. A lot of them couldn’t believe it. It’s good to see someone from your community chasing their dreams. It gives them hope.”
How do you stay engaged with the community today?
Ferguson: “My role in my company is helping businesses start and gain confidence to grow. We help them with insurance, but I also enjoy mentoring businesses in figuring out the road ahead. It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur, but there is a lot of reward, especially if you can help someone find their way.”
Santiago: “I love to host events for the York community, such as our short film gala that we did in August and a free community event in early September where we highlighted art in the city. We also have planned to start a program to help inner-city students get started into filmmaking, hopefully open for enrollment later this year.”
York College supports students as they work to turn career dreams into reality. Some 99% of new, full-time students receive financial assistance or scholarships. A variety of scholarships and grants are available, based on both merit and financial need.