Mayly Cisneros and Tsion Wolde summarized how the First Generation College Bound program helped them master SAT tests, the financial aid process and boost their confidence.
The two high school seniors praised the program based in Laurel on allowing them to become the first in their families to attend college in the fall. More significantly is First Generation receiving a $50,000 grant that helped students like them.
They presented virtual testimony Monday, April 18 before Prince George’s County Council on the jurisdiction’s annual action plan for housing and community development. Money toward the plan would come from the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership funds and a Emergency Solutions Grant.
Prince George’s could receive the following amounts from the federal government: $5.6 million in CDBG funds; $3.5 million for HOME; and $880,550 in ESG (county must provide half of the money for emergency solutions) for a total of $10 million.
Money can be used for various projects such as economic development, affordable housing initiatives and to combat homelessness.
Those who participated in Monday’s hearing made requests for CDBG money. For instance, the proposed resolution from the county executive’s office designates First Generation College Bound for public services, which received $50,000 last year.
Mayly, a student at DuVal High School in Lanham, plans to attend the University of Maryland in College Park to study graphic design. Tsion, a student at High Point High School in Beltsville, will study biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
“Being a first-generation college student is a laborious assignment because parents, siblings and community members look up to you,” Tsion, of Ethiopian descent, said. “They have expectations of academic excellence and a lot of involvement in extracurricular activities.”
She continued: “It can be very hard sometimes because you feel like you can never mess up. Thank you to First Generation College Bound because they have helped me to become an inspiration to my younger siblings and also to my parents.”
A few nonprofits such as The Neighborhood Center in Hyattsville could receive less money than last year. The center also has an office in Baltimore City.
The center, which helps plan new parks, community gardens and other landscape projects, could receive $67,475 toward community design and planning services. It requested $119,164 last year.
“It would have a profound effect on communities and nonprofits in Prince George’s County,” said Allie O’Neill, program director of community design in the center’s Hyattsville office. “Our services would not be available for additional groups the entire year without this funding.”
Some of the other CDBG requests from various municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations include:
- Slightly more than $398,000 to resurface various roads in the Frenchman Creek neighborhood in the city of New Carrollton. Full amount recommended.
- About $825,000 from the City of College Park’s Housing Authority. Recommended amount: $372,752.
- Nearly $50,000 from Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, based in Baltimore, toward housing justice in Prince George’s. Full amount recommended.
- About $31,211 from Korean Community Services Center of Greater Washington toward outreach. Amount recommended: $31,210.