As an organization, we love to shine the light on those who deserve it most — our students. One of our graduating seniors this year, Ndey, began her journey in Gambia and now takes cultural challenges in the United States head-on to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. She also wants to create a mentoring program inspired by her involvement with Minds Matter.
Ndey faced a multitude of challenges upon moving to the United States from Gambia, including — but not limited to — the nuances of a new culture, language barriers, and an income gap. Regardless, Ndey was raised to view education as a top priority — an opinion passed down from her single mother who did not attend college. She learned about Minds Matter through other high school students, and when Ndey heard there was an open spot she “jumped at the chance,” Ndey recalls.
Minds Matter helps accomplished high school students, like Ndey, prepare for college success through personalized mentoring and a cutting-edge college-readiness curriculum. “Going to college,” Ndey says, “means more access to opportunities.”
As part of the Minds Matter curriculum to offer an appropriate foundation for college, high school students attend summer programs — academic focused courses on college campuses around the country — in the summers after 10th and 11th grade. Ndey attended a Black Issues Program (BIP) at Colorado State University, which involved taking a college class and creating a time-intensive, relevant presentation. The summer programs are about “getting out of your comfort zone and preparing for college,” Ndey says. As a second summer program, Ndey participated in a mentoring program at the University of Colorado — Colorado Springs and mentored middle schoolers. “I’m giving what my mentors gave me back to other kids,” recalled Ndey.
Beyond aspirations of a career with medicine and mentoring, Ndey wants to lessen the education gap between minorities and high-income students. She acknowledges that Minds Matter works to fix that gap, but Ndey still sees some glaring examples of resource limitations in her local community. Students at Ndey’s high school are currently using SAT books from 2015 to prepare for the 2019 SATs. Along the same lines, there are only three counselors at Ndey’s high school to support the entire student body. Although she says “they do their best,” it’s clear many students are underserved as a direct result of understaffing.
In terms of college, Ndey says many minority and low-income students suffer with time management early in their high school career which paves a difficult path towards college acceptance. A majority of low-income students, Ndey explains, often have to help with household responsibilities — including taking care of younger family members. This distribution of time might force a student to arrive late at school or prohibit them from having a job. Both are consequences, Ndey argues, which have ramifications affecting college admission. Spending time helping with household duties makes achieving high grades and saving money for college exceedingly difficult.
In Ndey’s experience, Minds Matter helps manage stress and empowers her with the resources and confidence to truly reach for her goals. Ndey views her Minds Matter mentors as friends who help her fulfill her own passions. Right now, her passions include becoming a doctor and minimizing the resource and income gaps between minorities and high-income students.
Ndey graduated from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in the spring of 2019. She will attend CSU on the Sean “Ranch” Lough Scholarship in the fall of 2019 and continue pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor!
“I’m thankful for Minds Matter because it really helped me grow as a person,” Ndey says. “Now, I’m really saying ‘what can I change and do to get new opportunities?’”
If you’re interested in learning more about Minds Matter or becoming a mentor, click here!