Future 5, a nonprofit dedicated to helping low income high school students in Stamford graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path, hosted a special recognition event to celebrate the graduation of their high school seniors on June 13 at the Stamford Innovation Center.
39 Future 5 seniors graduated, representing four Stamford high schools – Westhill High School, Stamford High School, Trinity Catholic High School, and AITE. Future 5’s class of 2016 is their seventh graduating class. 27 students committed to four-year schools including Providence College, UCONN Storrs, Springfield College, Quinnipiac University, and many others. Nine plan to attend two-year colleges including Norwalk Community College. One student will enter the U.S. military and two others are undecided on their plans and will continue to work with Future 5.
Future 5 member Sebastian Neufuss, a senior at AITE, is one example of the many students who have found success through the organization. He will be attending the Miami University of Ohio on a full scholarship from the Evans Scholars Foundation which provides full, four-year tuition and housing college scholarships for deserving golf caddies across the country. Sebastian is a golf caddy at the Woodway Country Club in Darien. He will be the first in his family to receive a college degree, like many other past and present graduates of the Future 5 organization. Sebastian will double major in psychology and business.
“From athletes to engineers to artists, the Future 5 Class of 2016 has it all. Our students continue to break barriers and become productive members of communities,” said Nancy Roath, co-director, college prep at Future 5. “The Class of 2016 is filled with wonderful students who have worked hard to realize their dream of attending college. It has been such a joy to work with this great group of students on their post high school plans. We are excited to see what the Class of 2016 will accomplish over the years and the many positive ways they will change the world,” added Debbie Eagan, co-director, college prep at Future 5.
During the graduation event founder and executive director Clif McFeely and director of students Ellen Berube spoke along with distinguished Future 5 alumni and members of the graduating senior class. First County Bank and XL Catlin were the event sponsors whose donations covered event expenses and the purchase of a college T-shirt for each graduate attending college in the fall.
Founded in 2009, Future 5 has served over 450 students and has a 98% high school graduation rate. For the 2015-2016 school year, Future 5 served approximately 150 high school students. In addition to the staff, 70 plus coaches and volunteers commit to over 60,000 hours helping Stamford’s high school students.
Fifteen students from Future 5, a Stamford-based nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income high school students in Stamford, CT graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path, were recently invited by Stamford Dollars for Scholars to attend First Lady Michelle Obama’s College Signing Day at the Harlem Armory in New York City.
As part of her Reach Higher Initiative, the First Lady hosted the third annual College Signing Day event to celebrate high school seniors choosing to pursue higher education at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.
“This was a life-changing event for many of our students and we could not be more excited or more proud!” said Future 5 board chairman Polly Perkins Johnson. “Future 5 has 40 seniors graduating from high school this spring and many of them will be the first in their family to attend college. We are so glad that Michelle Obama is celebrating this milestone with our students and appreciate that she has put such an emphasis on the importance of a college education,” added Ellen Berube, Future 5 director of students.
College Signing Day continues the First Lady’s efforts to inspire young people to pursue their education past high school. More than 4,000 students from across New York high schools attended the event. This event was hosted by MTV in conjunction with Viacom’s Get Schooled initiative.
Katherine Martinez attending Westhill High School said, “It was really cool to see all different celebrities and hear about how going to college changed their lives.” Martinez will be attending Providence College in the fall. Nii Pobee attending Stamford High School shared, “She gave genuine advice on how to be successful in college and to go after every opportunity no matter which college you attend.” Pobee will be starting at UConn Stamford this fall. And, Ricardo Vivar also attending Stamford High School added, “The event made me even more excited to attend college in the fall. We were surrounded by 4,000 other high school seniors who will be starting at new schools and it was nice to be a part of that.” Ricardo will be a part of the Honors Program at Southern Connecticut State University.
Future 5 students traveled to the New York event with Future 5’s chairman Polly Perkins Johnson, director of students Ellen Berube, student advocate & business administration assistant Raul Olivia, and co-Director of Future 5’s College Prep Debbie Eagan.
Founded in 2009, Future 5 has served over 400 students and has a 98% high school graduation rate. For the 2015-2016 school year, Future 5 expects to serve approximately 150 students. If you are interested in learning more about Future 5 or volunteering to work with their high school student members, contact at 203-358-8787.
Future 5, a Stamford-based nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income high school students in Stamford, CT graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path, recently celebrated National Volunteer Week by honoring its 70 volunteer coaches.
David and Fanny Moran hosted a “Cocktails & Coaches” event at their home in New Canaan. Moran has been a Future 5 volunteer for three years and recently became the volunteer coordinator. Other volunteer coaches from New Canaan include Peg Atchue, Ellen Berube, Jack and Lynn Donahue, Jim and Debbie Eagan, Future 5 founder & executive director Clif McFeely, Future 5 chairman of the board Polly Perkins Johnson, Jerry and Nancy Roath, Tom Turrentine and Lindsay Valk.
Volunteer coaches assist student members through various programs such as Here To There, Job Prep, College Prep and Community Service. Each of these workshops, ranging from eight weeks long to the entire school year, are designed to equip student members with the resources needed to overcome any barriers preventing them from reaching their goals. In addition to the ongoing workshops, special events, and tutoring services available to the students, coaches help student members navigate the complexities of the college application and financial aid processes as well as attend college on-site tours with them.
Each school year 70+ devoted Future 5 volunteers commit to over 5,000 hours. Coaches typically participate in large group discussions based on a theme and facilitate breakout sessions with several students. Depending on the workshop, a Future 5 coach is needed to volunteer one to three hours per week.
If you are interested in learning more about Future 5 or volunteering to work with their high school student members, contact at 203-358-8787.
Future 5 announced the election of three new members to its board of directors: Jamere Jackson of Nielsen, Jessica Lee of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Christopher Wright of Pilgrim Capital.
“Jamere, Jessica and Chris have an impressive combination of experience and strong community connections. We are proud to welcome these outstanding individuals to our board and look forward to their valuable insights and contributions,” said Polly Perkins Johnson, Board Chairman of Future 5.
In addition to the three new elected board members, Future 5 board includes: New Canaan residents Chairman, Polly Perkins Johnson, Vice Chairman & Secretary, Tom Turrentine, VP of RBC Wealth Management, Andrew Ashforth, co-CEO, The Ashforth Company, Thomas Beusse, CEO, F+W, Jack Loop, CEO, The Loop Company, Frank Lyon, Individual Philanthropy Officer, AmeriCares, and Cindy Ziegler, Director, Halo Studios, as well as Darien resident David Schirmer, VP and General Manager, Hearst Corporation, and Redding resident Kim DePra, VP, Marketing & Communications, The Ashforth Company.
Stamford resident, Jamere Jackson was elected as Treasurer of the Future 5 board. Jackson serves as Chief Financial Officer of Nielsen based in Wilton. Prior to joining Nielsen in 2014, Jackson spent over nine years at GE where held CFO roles in GE Corporate, GE Aviation and GE Oil & Gas. Jackson received his undergraduate degree in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Christopher Wright is a resident of New Canaan and a Partner with Pilgrim Capital, an independent private-equity firm based in Fairfield. Prior to helping establish Pilgrim in 2007, he had over nine years of private equity experience. Wright graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Fairfield resident Jessica Lee is an Assurance Senior Manager with PwC. She began her career with PwC and has served a broad mix of small, mid-sized and large multinational companies, both private and public, in the consumer products, retail and industrial products industries. Lee received her undergraduate degree in Accounting from Providence College and a Master’s Degree from the University of Connecticut.
Founded in 2009, Future 5 has served 369 students and overall has a 98% high school graduation rate. For the 2015-2016 school year, Future 5 expects to serve approximately 150 students. The nonprofit has a staff of five, 60+ coaches and volunteers and an annual budget of about $600,000.
“Continuing on its success, Future 5 and its board are currently focused on sustainability by expanding quality programming and infrastructure, creating a reserve fund, expanding its physical space, and strengthening general operations. Ultimately, the board hopes to expand Future 5’s model to other cities,” explained Clif McFeely, Founder and Executive Director of Future 5 and New Canaan resident.
Norwalk Community College & Future 5 Collaborate…to Increase Positive Outcomes for Students
Future 5, a nonprofit that helps motivated, low-income high school students in Stamford, CT graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path, announced the opening of a new space at Norwalk Community College (NCC).
Future 5 students attending NCC and seeking help with academic, financial, time-management, and other challenges are now able to meet on-site with Future 5 coaches both by appointment and by drop-in. The new space, generously donated by NCC, is located in the Lifetime Learners Suite on the first floor of the West Campus. This space is optimal for student traffic and access to other nearby services. Two Future 5 volunteer coaches, New Canaan resident Martha Cook (MBA) and Norwalk resident Julie Horowitz (MHSA, LCSW), will provide office hours two afternoons per week, Monday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
“Community partnerships have proven to be a key ingredient in student success. Our goal is to significantly increase the number of NCC students who earn a high quality credential or Associate Degree leading to employment, or transfer to complete their Bachelor Degree. We are thrilled that Future 5 is now one of these key community resources,” said Ann Rogers, Executive Director of the Norwalk Community College Foundation.
Future 5 students enrolled at NCC are overwhelmingly from low-income backgrounds and accordingly need ongoing guidance and support. Given their strong sense of affiliation with Future 5, it makes sense for Future 5 to leverage their student relationships as much as possible during their NCC years. Currently 45+ Future 5 students attend NCC.
“The Future 5 – NCC Stay Connected collaboration was initiated to establish an on-campus support system for Future 5 high school graduates as they pursue their college and career path,” said Clif McFeely, Founder & Executive Director of Future 5. “For a large percentage of our Stamford high school graduates, NCC represents a critical step towards this goal. Improving the NCC retention and graduation rates is key to the success of our organization and is beneficial to NCC as well. We’re grateful for the donated space and our new partnership with NCC,” added McFeely.
The goal of the Future 5 – NCC Stay Connected collaboration is to increase positive outcomes for Future 5 students. Additional objectives include increasing the credential and degree awards of Future 5 students attending NCC and helping prepare these students to move on to a four-year college and/or a sustainable career.
If you are interested in learning more about Future 5 or volunteering to work with their high school student members, call (203) 358-8787.
Dear Future 5,
As I begin my first few days of college, I would like to take this moment to thank everyone at Future 5 for making my high school experience so worthwhile and rewarding. From the day that I set foot in Future 5 in my freshman year of high school, something told me that the people involved here were going to help me big time.
What started as an occasional stop in for desperate math help quickly turned into a connection with not only the staff but many of the students, with whom I became friends through Future 5. After completing the “Here to There” program, I suddenly felt like a part of the Future 5 family. I would not get to where I am without the extraordinary help from coaches and full-time staff at Future 5. In fact, my interest for civil engineering would be all but existent without Future 5’s job shadowing opportunities, which eventually led to a summer internship in my related field.
Every student across the country should have access to a program that not only helps them with academic workload but helps to develop their soft skills and really craft themselves into the person they want to be. My experience at Future 5 could not have been a better one, and all the adults were eager to help me with just about any problem or question I had. Without a college coach, I would not see myself at RIT or even coming close to completing the college process on my own.
Thank you to all who helped me get to where I am; I know I want to do the same for high school students when I get to be accomplished in life like all of you. All this help and guidance helped me realize how many good people there are out there that will push you to do your best, even after you’ve given up. Many nights when I worked on my college essays and was ready to call it quits, it would just happen that my college coach would email me with more tips or revisions, which told me that if there’s someone who’s dedicating their time for me, there is no way I am giving up now. Every day spent at Future 5 was rewarding, whether to get work done or just socialize with so many great people. Thank you again for the guidance and help these last four years, and I can’t wait to come back soon to tell everyone how well the college world is going. Best of luck to all of you and the students in the coming school year!
Future 5, a nonprofit that helps motivated, low-income high school students in Stamford, CT graduate and connect to a better and sustainable education and career path, held their annual graduation and celebration Thursday, June 11, at the Innovation Center in Old Town Hall.
51 seniors, who are members of Future 5, representing all four local Stamford high schools, AITE, Trinity Catholic, Stamford and Westhill, celebrated their achievement at this special recognition event. The class of 2015 is Future 5’s sixth graduating class and many students have been members of the organization since their freshman year. 27 have committed to attend four-year schools including Princeton University, University of San Francisco, Rochester Institute of Technology, UConn, and Southern CT University. 19 students will attend Norwalk Community College or another community college in the fall. One student is enlisting in the Army; one attending a summer program at Pratt; one will become a firefighter; and two are undecided at this time.
“The future of our young generation is critical to the Stamford community. We are proud that Future 5 has a proven model to connect each of our students to a game plan for success, supported by an unparalleled community network of support,” said Clif McFeely, founder and director of Future 5. Currently serving 130 members, Future 5 works to instill a can-do attitude by teaching the importance of resilience, grit, optimism, follow-through, and integrity. The organization’s philosophy and community strengthens a student’s self-esteem through character building workshops, job and college preparation programs and one-on-one coaching.
Featured senior graduation speakers, Ariel Mendoza, who will attend Pace University in NY; Alexa Gumbus, who will attend Norwalk Community College; Sachi Perera who will attend UConn Stamford; and Jennifer Midy, who will attend Nyack College in NY, shared their high school challenges and what their Future 5 experience has meant to them.
“Future 5 believes in the power of connection,” said chairman Polly Perkins Johnson. “We know that if we support and connect our kids to the Stamford community in a meaningful way, they will pay it forward. Our student members are given every opportunity to become productive citizens and with a good education and career plan they will want to live, work, and raise their families in Stamford,” Perkins Johnson added.
Since its founding in 2009, Future 5 has served 369 students and 98% of the students have graduated from high school. 92% have commitments to two- or four-year colleges, certifications programs or the military. In addition to the staff, 60+ volunteer coaches commit to over 5000 hours providing more than $300,000 worth of guidance, coaching and tutoring each school year.
We call it Job Prep. On the surface, the appeal for our kids is that Job Prep is about all things jobs: resumes, interview skills, summer job searches, job shadowing, even internships. But for the 22 intrepid members who committed to all 6 sessions and graduated with their special business cards and letter of reference, Future 5 Job Prep is so much more. It is about the all-important soft skills our young members will need to navigate life. Popular discussions include: How do you make a positive first impression (“you have only seven seconds” and “watch out for that dead fish handshake”)? What are the secrets to active listening? What goes into an effective, confident elevator pitch? How do you market yourself as a brand (“watch what you post on Facebook”)?
With help from our Job Prep Coaches – 12 amazing volunteers who lent us their time and real world experience each week – each of our students had opportunities to directly interact with new adult acquaintances and put newly acquired soft skills to the test.
Yes, Job Prep prepares Future 5 students for the job/career world in tangible ways, but it may be the intangibles we teach them that will serve them best in life. Job Prep is really “life prep.”
Our seniors climbed the steps in droves in order to leave their mark. A once blank wall is now covered with students’ names and the colleges where they have been accepted. The Future 5 Pep Rally was a huge success and we now have the wall to prove it. The names that adorn our wall run the gamut from the University of Connecticut, to Iona, Manhattanville and University of VT, from Princeton, Norwalk Community College, Pace, Virginia Tech and Syracuse, Goucher, Seton Hall, New York University and Michigan State.
For many students, it was more than just a day to celebrate their acceptances. It was a day that they and their College Prep coaches have spent hours preparing for. Many of our Future 5 students will be the first person in their family to attend college, and for some, the first to graduate from high school.
Whether it is in Stamford, Chicago, New York, or Virginia, we know that our students will enter the college world with integrity, curiosity, and grit. The writing is on our wall.
Come visit Future 5 and see for yourself!
- Jaelle Dorival – She graduated from Westhill High School in 2011. She currently is a senior at St. John’s University, majoring in Homeland and Corporate Security. She works as an intern at Future 5.
- Aicha Agrebi – She graduated from Stamford High School in 2011. Works as a makeup artist at Lord and Taylor. She currently is attending Norwalk Community College.
- Hermione Illaire – Graduated in 2013. Currently attends Norwalk Community College, majoring in Nursing.
- Bryan Mendoza – He graduated high school in 2013. Currently attends University of Connecticut – Stamford with double major in Psychology and English. He is serving in the US National Guard as Military Police.
- Lindsay Bosquet – Graduated in 2013. She is in a nursing program in NY and is expected to graduate in June. She is also in her first year at Norwalk Community College (NCC).
- Erick Bravo – Certified medical billing and coding specialist.
- Mildred Pacheco – She graduated from Westhill High School. She currently is a sophomore attending Naugatuck Community College where she is studying Law.
- David Montoya – Graduated from Stamford High School in 2013. He attended Porter and Chester Institute and has become a certified electrician. He currently works at Cablevision.
- Christine Fils-Aime – (Honorary Alum) Transferred from Norwalk Community College to Post University. She is majoring in Child Psychology. This past year she made dean’s list.
- Florence Grant – She graduated from Stamford High in 2013. She is currently a sophomore at Northeastern University. This past year she made dean’s list.
- Brionna West – Graduated from Stamford High School in 2014. She is currently attending Western Connecticut State University, majoring in Pre-Med/ Biology.
- Medinard Michel – Graduated from Trinity Catholic High School in 2014. Is currently attending University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in psychology.
- Shemar Morgan – Graduated from Westhill High School in 2014. He is attending Norwalk Community College. He has received a scholarship to go to Penn State.
- Chistie Carrenard – Graduated from Stamford High School in 2014. She is currently attending University of Connecticut – Stamford, majoring in Biology.
- Andy Augustin – He graduated from Stamford High School in 2014. He is currently a freshman at Central Connecticut State University.
- Luis Hernandez – He graduated from Westhill High School. He is currently attending Norwalk Community College and is pursuing a liberal arts degree. He will be graduating in December. He will be transferring to Eastern Connecticut State University in the fall.
- Yazmin Pacheco – She is in her senior year at UCONN Stamford. She is currently studying business analytics.
- Tanzina Idris – She graduated from Westhill High School in 2014. She is currently attending Norwalk Community College and hasn’t decided her major.
- Sophie Cam – She graduated from Westhill High school in 2012. She is currently a junior at American University in DC. Next semester she is going abroad to Exeter England.
- Miriam Desgazon – She graduated in 2013. She is a sophomore at Central Connecticut State University. She is a social major and is planning to study abroad next semester (January) for 5 months in Poland.
- Antonia Joseph – She graduated from Westhill High School in 2013. She completed the CNA program at Norwalk Community College. She is a certified nursing assistant looking for position within that field.