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When Payam Salehi moved to San Francisco in 2016, he wanted to find a way to make a meaningful impact on his new community. He joined Mission Graduates as a College Connect writing partner, and quickly recruited a group of friends to join him in meeting once a week to provide 1:1 support, mentorship, and to talk about college plans with first-gen students in our program.

Payam has been a dedicated Writing Partner who has gone above and beyond to ensure students feel empowered and confident in the college application and admission process. For many first-generation students and their families, navigating the college process can be daunting and unknown. Writing Partners like Payam ensure our students have a caring adult in their life to help them navigate the process together.

Payam has mentored and supported two College Connect students who are now earning undergraduate degrees at 4-year universities. When asked how he would describe his experience in one word, Payam quickly replied.

Transformative. I feel very grateful to have had an opportunity to work with, learn from, and support Oscar and Steven. It was illuminating to hear their family stories, their challenges, their dreams, and aspirations. Each time we met, I came away more and more inspired by their determination, focus, and resilience. Coming from an immigrant family myself, I know how helpful it was for me to have had people outside of my family to lean on both for academic and personal support. I hope I was able to be a positive force in their lives and that they know I’m always a phone call away. I’m excited to continue my friendships with Oscar, Steven, and the College Connect community and being of service to many more students in the years to come.”

Writing Partners are the secret to College Connects’ success.  Three staff members have supported nearly 200 students on the path to college and we could not have done it without these dedicated volunteers.

College Connect is currently seeking  Writing Partners to match with College Connect and John O’Connell College & Career students. Writing Partners sign on to mentor one student on the path to higher education throughout his/her senior year of high school.  Each week, you can support a student by reading and editing their personal statements and scholarship essays, navigating financial aid applications, and helping one student take a big step towards becoming the first in their family to graduate from college.

Writing Partners come from an array of diverse backgrounds and lived experiences although they all share one thing in common: the belief of giving back to their community and the fundamental power of education to transform future generations.

Interested in joining our volunteer family? Click here to sign-up to become a Writing Partner today.

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