YMCA and United Way Team Up to Help Teens Access College

To make the college application process less daunting for teens and families, the Y of Central Florida and Heart of Florida United Way have teamed up to launch the “Going to College” texting program.

Based on a model from the Florida College Access Network, the program aims to increase college enrollment by providing guidance and information during the application process. By simply texting a pre-assigned code, students receive timely reminders about registration deadlines, financial aid and other resources from the colleges of their choice.

To date, more than 60 students and Y Teen Achievers have signed up for the program, which removes the “information barriers” that can discourage less-affluent students from pursuing post-secondary education.

The program is one of several recent collaborations between the YMCA and HFUW, which share a common commitment to supporting children and youth at every stage of development. Through its Investing in Results grant-making process, HFUW is also funding the Healthy Beginnings nutrition and health program at the YMCA’s two Early Childhood Development Centers at Walt Disney World.

“In addition to the Teen Achievers College Prep Sessions, the Going to College texting program is a great resource for aspiring young people,” said Mina Ford, Executive Director of the YMCA Teen Achievers Program. “We're proud to work with United Way in providing the extra layer of support that can make a huge difference for first-generation college students.”

“Through a network of community-based resources, United Way hopes to lower barriers that prevent students from furthering their education,” said Ray Larsen, United Way’s Assistant Vice President of Children’s Services. “It’s a daunting process for a 17-year-old, let alone most parents. This tool helps students chart their course to college and stay on track.”

For more information or to access texting codes, click here.