This July, John F. Kennedy University’s Dr. Judy Castro, AVP of Student Experience and Director for the University’s Hispanic-Serving Institution Grant, spoke with students at a College Success Workshop hosted by Richmond Promise and the Contra Costa Community College. Dr. Castro’s words resonated with the students as she discussed the value of higher education, better-paying jobs, socioeconomic growth, and self-worth.

Richmond Promise is a nonprofit that promotes early college awareness among underserved students throughout the region. Their College Success Workshop series connects young scholars to resources and knowledge in support of a successful high school to college transition.

The mission of Richmond Promise is closely aligned with John F. Kennedy University’s goals and objectives as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). JFKU received the $2.6 million HSI grant in 2015 and since then has developed the Undergraduate Success Center, an on-campus space dedicated to providing underserved students with the support they need to reach their higher education goals. Four years into the grant period, the University is also extending their work as an HSI outward into the community.

“Our commitment has always been to promote the value of higher education as a foundation for success,” says Dr. Javier Guevara, member of the Office of Student Experience. “We collaborate and co-convene with institutions, such as Richmond Promise, that are aligned with the commitment to empower students to continue their educational paths.”

While the Undergraduate Success Center serves students who are already on their higher educational journey, Dr. Castro’s message in her recent conversation with students at Richmond Promise was geared toward those who may not yet be aware of the benefits of a higher education. She stressed the importance of institutions that are HSI’s because they are there to support students new to higher education in reaching their academic goals. She stressed that the time is now for these students to get started and reach out to the support that is available.