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Post of Gratitude: We Love Our Community Partnerships!

Alex Gonzalez

Written by Alex Gonzalezon November 23rd, 2021

I have a passion for helping students and families and have done so through programs in college preparation access, and success. At the NELA Center for Student Success, I worked with Portland metro area schools as an external partner to meet the needs of counselors by hosting College Planning Nights and FAFSA completion workshops. As the training and development specialist at OSAC, I designed an online toolkit to support the state’s college mentoring program in over 45 sites in Oregon. I also bring experience from the university side, where I have held positions in athletics, financial aid, and admissions. At the University of Portland, I was the admissions counselor for diversity and inclusion in addition to my duties as an area counselor for Portland Metro, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Montana. I also developed and implemented a multicultural and community outreach plan for the admissions office. Most recently, I was the scholarship advisor at Educational Credit Management, managing eight program sites and supporting a cohort of more than 400 students. I continue to be a trusted expert in the financial aid community, providing national and regional training's.
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As we think about thankfulness this year, we want to highlight two of the organizations we value working with through community partnerships. In alignment with our greater Bright Horizon® diversity, equity, and inclusion goal to increase support in historically underserved communities, we have spent the last two years collaborating with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Essex, Hudson, & Union Counties, New Jersey; and ZUMIX in East Boston, Massachusetts. BBBS works with volunteers, parents, and families to create one-to-one mentoring relationships that defend, inspire, and empower the potential that lives within every kid. ZUMIX is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through music and creative technology. Over the last two years, our educators have assisted 23 high school seniors nominated by BBBS and ZUMIX with the admission and college finance process. We designate these students as Bright Horizons Scholars, and they are defined by their desire to invest in their future. A demographic snapshot of our Scholars:
  • Over 60% will be the first in their family to go to college 
  • 53% identify as male; 47% as female 
  • 72% identify as Black or African American 
  • 25% identify as Hispanic/Latinx origin
Looking Back: Our First Class We are so proud of our first group of BH Scholars, the class of 2021. Over half of this first class of students are currently attending four-year universities, including Drexel, St. John's University, Penn State, and Rutgers. Others are attending community college with plans to transfer at some point in the future. Students completed the Community Foundation of New Jersey’s scholarship application, an organization that grants millions of dollars each year through a variety of foundations. Two of our deserving BH Scholars were awarded the Siegel Family Scholarship Fund, which helped them cover college costs not met by their chosen institution. In all, the class of 2021 was awarded over $200,000 in scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year and, if that wasn’t exciting enough, 60% of our BH Scholars’ financial award letters do not include loans.  Our Program Our educators work hard to enhance our community partners' vision by providing expert advice and customized support in the college admission and finance process. We help students navigate this process in a way that best aligns with their future educational goals. Students benefit from:
  • Individualized Advising: We provide students dedicated admissions and college finance experts, while also leveraging the collective knowledge of our full team.
  • College Finance Support: We offer guidance on how to apply for and maximize aid and scholarships.
  • Essay Help: Students receive comprehensive assistance in telling their stories, including topic selection, outlining, and content development. 
  • Targeted College List: We help the student settle on a customized college list based on personalized assessment and classified by likelihood of admission and institutional financial support.
Looking Ahead: Class of 2022 The BH Scholars class of 2022 is keeping us on our toes! Over the summer we rolled out a workshop series for students that included topics such as Admission Basics, Paying for College, Writing Your College Essay, and Test Prep and Study Habits. At this point in the cycle, college applications are well underway, financial aid applications are being submitted, and some lucky students have already heard back that they have been accepted to some the colleges on their lists—and received scholarships. Everyone is working hard and is excited to see what this spring will bring. Working with BH Scholars helps us, as educators, hone our counseling skills and we all agree it is wonderful to be part of a company that gives back to others in the community. Want to Learn More? Are you part of a community organization? We encourage you to contact us to discuss available programming and support services available free of charge to your clients and staff members. You can reach us at

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