It’s midterms week at Le Moyne College, and Jeffry Mateo is doing some last minute prepping for his English exam. His friends trickle into the back study room of the library. One by one they join the group for a crash course session. The exam is now only a few hours away.
After his exam, Jeffry [use last name instead] will go back to his Residence Hall. He’s a Resident Advisor and he’s on call for the rest of the night. That means first working desk duty, then serving as the designated point person for anything a resident might need.
Jeffry [last name] doesn’t mind the responsibility. He likes staying active on campus, holds multiple internships, and is a member of student government.
Although he loves his life at Le Moyne, getting to this point wasn’t simple.
“It was just hard because I didn’t know what FAFSA was. My mom definitely didn’t know what FAFSA was,” Jeffry [last name] explained.
Jeffry [last name] is a Henniger High native. He grew up in a low-income household in West Syracuse and is a first generation college student. When time came to apply for college, he didn’t know where to begin and turned to On Point For College for help.
“The mission of On Point for College is for our participants to be successful to college and training,” said Tanya Eastman, the director of operations and career services at On Point for College.
Through the program, Jeffry [last name] worked his way through the application process and once committed [admitted], On Point for College worked with Jeffry [last name] to help him prepare for his college experience. In addition to receiving new school supplies and other college necessities, the organization served as a support mechanism.
“You have your regular family, and yeah you have the whole family tree and stuff, But on Point expands that,” Jeffry [last name] said.
For Jeffry [last name], college has always been a part of his plan.
“It’s been a goal since middle school, since as long as I can remember and understand the way my neighborhood works,” Jeffry [last name] said.
Jeffry’s [last name] always thought of college as his way out of his neighborhood in West Syracuse, a community that he says struggles to make ends meet.
“It’s a place where a lot of people struggle to live their everyday life even if it’s trying to find some money to have food on their table and try to find a stable job to have heat and water and some place to stay. You know that’s something that my mom and we’ve also struggled with,” Jeffry [last name] explained.
As a senior, he’s eager to land a career-starting job, and bring home a paycheck.
Gaining employment is something On Point is assisting Jeffry [last name] with as well.
“We’ve been working with him here, I know he’s working with career services up in Le Moyne, and he’s the kind of gem that really any organization should want,” Tanya [last name] said.
He’s exploring a couple different options for starting jobs in the communications industry, but for Jeffry [last name] the ultimate dream would be working as a photojournalist for National Geographic.
“I love the pictures that they take and the stories that they tell, I feel I can make that same impact, so it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Jeffry [last name] said.