Park City Education Foundation serves the Park City Community through a variety of programs. One of their programs aimed to help low-income families get their kids to and through college.
PC Ed Foundation Executive Director Abby McNulty says Bright Futures is a mentorship program for first generation, low-income college going students, intended to help them get to and through college.
“It starts working with kids in 10th grade and it follows them to college graduation,” McNulty continued. “Kids are in the program and supported over the course of seven years. Bright Futures is modeled off of a very successful program from Pomona, CA called Bright Prospect. That see an 80% graduation rate among low income 1st Gen students that are enrolled in their program. Nationally the graduation rate for low income 1st Gen students is only 11%.”
McNulty says the program emphasizes the importance of obtaining higher education
“A college graduate over their lifetime makes a million more dollars than a non-college graduate,” McNulty explained. “So, the economic impact and how important that is. It also works with students and families on even just navigating the process of getting to college. They've never been to college before. I know when I was applying to college, I would ask my mom and dad what's this? What school is that? But that's the knowledge base that many of these families don't have. So, it really covers the basics between an associates degree of two years at Community College versus a four-year degree, a big school versus a small school, in state versus out-of-state. It's all this college knowledge that a lot of kids and families don't have. It's also teaching them to network and self-advocate. To rely on peers and their mentors for support when they need it. That really comes into play then when they're on a college campus and they're away from their family, they’re away from their community and how do you make it work.”
The inaugural class of Bright Futures members are wrapping up their first semester in higher education courses and remaining in contact with Bright Futures.
“There's 13 kids enrolled in college in the state of Utah,” McNulty said. “They are at the U’s honors college, there at the University of Utah, Westminster, Utah State, Salt Lake Community College, and there's one student who is on his (LDS) mission, who plans to return and come back to school here. They're doing amazingly well. Part of the support of Bright Futures is meeting with them on a monthly basis. Last week a team of mentors and the college coach, who is an employee of Bright Futures, went and met with the students at the Salt Lake campuses. So, Westminster, the U, and SLCC. They took them to dinner, and they talked about the challenges they were having. The things that they love doing, you know their social life, the clubs they are in getting engaged in. Just providing that safety net. Continuing to encourage them, support them, and hear how they're doing.”
McNulty reports that Bright Futures raised $73,000 during Live PC Give PC.