March 14, 2022

Celebrating AmeriCorps Week: Thank You AdviseAZ Members!

From March 13-19 we are joining AmeriCorps in celebrating AmeriCorps members across the country that work to help communities manage COVID-19 response, ensure students stay on track to graduate, combat hunger and homelessness, respond to natural disasters, fight the opioid epidemic, help senior citizens live independently and more.

Education Forward Arizona’s AdviseAZ program, funded by AmeriCorps, helps high school students who are low-income, first-generation and/or students of color stay on track to graduate and attend a postsecondary institution.

The AdviseAZ AmeriCorps program places current college students or recent college graduates in low-income, Title I high schools to act as near-peer advisers because we know the best guides are often those who recently went through the college-going process.

“I always had questions and wanted someone to go to who had more recent experience and could really help me navigate and transition from high school to college,” said AdviseAZ Member Jazmin Morales. “A member would have benefited me greatly especially since they could help walk me through the process, which is what I feel many schools lack.”

With nearly 3,000 hours served this academic year, our 14 current AdviseAZ members are helping more than 750 students at 13 sites across the state.

“We have 500 students enrolled into our college access program,” said AdviseAZ Member Samantha Hui. “Most of the students we serve come from low-income backgrounds and/or will be first-generation college students. We help these students apply for college even though they thought college was not even an option. We are helping students pave a future for themselves that they can be proud of.”

Several of our current members understand what their students are going through because they were also low-income and/or first-generation students.

“In high school, I needed help as a first-generation college student,” said Hui, who works at College Bound AZ, “Many AdviseAZ advisers come from similar backgrounds as the students they serve. I know I would have benefitted from having a near-peer who could guide me.”

Since the program’s inception in 2019, AdviseAZ has helped more than 5,000 students across Arizona achieve their postsecondary dreams.

In fact, Morales helped one student realize college wasn’t off the table for her.

“One of my students initially didn’t think college was in the cards for her. Her parents did not know how to help her and they expected her to work after high school,” said Morales, who works at Sunnyside High School. “She was missing some credits, but we were able to recover them from her previous school. We then realized she had a high GPA and was eligible to receive enough scholarships to make University relatively free.”

“Now college is a reality for her,” Morales added. “Her excitement and knowing we were able to help her realize her potential and all her options that she would not have dreamed of otherwise still warms my heart.”

AdviseAZ is currently looking for members and sites for the 2022-2023 school year.

There will also be informational sessions in April for potential members and sites who would like to learn more about the program.