Promise Welcomes Ambassadors

As New Haven Promise prepares to honor its first fully-funded cohort on Thursday evening at the Omni New Haven Hotel, it also announces a pilot program designed to provide connection and support for Scholars on four campuses this fall.

“The goal of the Promise Ambassador Program is to create community and increase communication between the Promise Scholars as well as provide deeper connection between the Scholars and the Promise staff,” said Patricia Melton, Executive Director of New Haven Promise. “We believe that a student who feels an immediate connection on campus will be more at ease during the transition to campus, but also that all of our Scholars should celebrate being a citizen of the Elm City.”

The initiative — developed by Yale President Public Service Fellow Jessie Gutgsell this summer — will begin next month at Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut, Yale University and Gateway Community College. Promise Program Director Caprice Taylor Mendez will oversee the program as it transitions onto the campuses. The plan calls for development of an Ambassador program at more in-state campuses for the 2015-16 academic year.

In all, 13 Ambassadors for the 2014-15 academic year — who represent seven different New Haven high schools — have been selected. They gathered last Friday at the offices of Teach for America Connecticut for training, team building and discussion. On Thursday night — prior to the Scholar Celebration — they will meet with the incoming Promise freshmen from their respective schools.

The initial group of Ambassadors are:

Alondra Arguello, Yale University (New Haven Academy ’13)
Ashley Bailey, Gateway Community College (Hillhouse High ’11)
Aaron Berkowitz, Southern Connecticut State (Wilbur Cross High ’11)
Isaac Bloodworth, University of Connecticut (Cooperative Arts High ’13)
Danielle Brodie, Gateway Community College (Hill Regional Career High ’12)
Lily Engbith, Yale University (Wilbur Cross High ’13)
Teodoro Garcia, University of Connecticut (Hill Regional Career High ’11)
Jasmin Gonzalez, University of Connecticut (High School in the Community ’12)
Prekiya Kennebrew, University of Connecticut (Wilbur Cross High ’11)
Niasia Mercado, Southern Connecticut State (Wilbur Cross High ’11)
Carmen Roman, Southern Connecticut State (The Sound School ’13)
Naomy Velez, Gateway Community College (The Sound School ’12)
Rachel Whitfield, Southern Connecticut State (Wilbur Cross High ’12)

Release in PDF | Photo of Ambassadors (Credit: Shayne Yang/New Haven Promise)

Shayne Yang of New Haven Promise snapped the photo at TFA Connecticut offices on Friday
Front row (left to right) — Prekiya Kennebrew, Danielle Brodie, Niasia Mercado, Lily Engbith, Jasmine Gonzalez, Ashley Bailey, Teodoro Garcia, Alondra Arguello, Isaac Bloodworth. Back row (left to right) — Jessie Gutgsell (Promise Fellow), Carmen Roman, Aaron Berkowitz, Rachel Whitfield, Naomy Velez, Caprice Taylor Mendez (Promise Program Director)

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