On Point for College, Inc., is dedicated
to making higher education accessible
In 1992 my daughter Shanley was a junior in high school. At the time, she had a friend who was living couch to couch and thought he couldn’t go to college because he had no one to support him.
“So Mom, I told him you’d get him into college,” Shanley announced one night. Although initially surprised, I did eventually manage to help James enroll in college and in the small town where we live, word got around.
Two weeks later, while I was grocery shopping, two young people approached me and asked if I was the lady who had helped James get into college. They also needed help. They were living in a homeless shelter.
Over the next eight years, I lived a double life. By day, I was a corporate CFO. On nights and weekends, I was a volunteer, a college access advisor—even though at the time, I had never heard of the term “college access.”
I’d help students fill out financial aid paperwork at the shelter. I’d offer to take a student to visit a college campus and the whole van would fill up with students. And sure enough, one by one, they were accepted into college.
I’d take them shopping for bedding, towels, notebooks, backpacks, pens, pencils, and alarm clocks, and buy them $150 in new clothes. I’d drive them to college on the first day and visit them mid-semester to make sure everything was okay.
This went on for years until one day a student named Nicolas changed my life by asking me a question. “Because of you, I have my dream,” he said. “You’re my friend, and I want you to feel the way I feel. If that’s not your life—if you’re not living your dream—what steps are you taking to change it?”
With the support of my loving husband, I quit my job and started On Point for College with no funding. For the first year and a half, I worked alone and out of the trunk of my car.
Years later, my colleagues at On Point for College and I have helped thousands of young people enroll at hundreds of colleges and universities. We could not have done so without the caring support of hundreds of friends, partners, and volunteers who shared our mission.
To our staff, friends, partners and volunteers, I say, thank you for caring about the success of young people whom you may have never met, and may never meet. In the words of Nicolas “because of your hand in my fate, my future has been significantly altered.”