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Monday, March 8, 2021

'Pathways to College' Initiative Pays Dividends for DAPI Students

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Lucy ODonnell
Lucy ODonnell
Lucy O’Donnell is the Executive Director of the Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc., a statewide school for pregnant and parenting teens. She has over 30 years of experience in the Delaware non-profit sector with a concentration on education. Ms. O’Donnell currently serves on the Delaware Teen Pregnancy Advisory Board, the Association of Fundraising Professionals board and the Huntington Disease Society board as well as numerous state committees.

114The Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc., known as DAPI, provides an education alternative for pregnant and parenting teens in our state. Our student population has traditionally not pursued higher education, citing finances, the demands of parenthood, the need to work, academic hardships and countless other distractions as barriers to continuing their education. With this in mind, DAPI designed a program, “Pathways to College,” to expose our vulnerable population to these opportunities.

This project utilizes the existing Student Success Plan for Delaware 8-12th graders to motivate our pregnant and parenting teens to aspire to a college education and to develop a financial and educational plan to get there. The Career Cruising online software provides students with a guided opportunity to explore potential careers, identify continuing education opportunities and associated financing and build a portfolio of resources and experience. DAPI adds the exploration of local college campuses, majors and financial packages and helps them to devise a plan for achieving their educational and career goals despite their teen parent status. Money Clubs, facilitated through the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute, also help students set and achieve financial goals.

As a result of this targeted effort, 50% of the DAPI Class of 2013 applied to and were accepted into a college program for the fall semester. DAPI plans to continue this focused attention on higher education with a broader view in the future that includes vocational and entrepreneurial opportunities.

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