Mackenzie Deng, a graduating senior receiving his degree in Business Management, developed and implemented College Thursdays, a post-secondary education and preparation program for the Boys and Girls Club of Bellport (BGC). Every Thursday from October 12, 2017 to April 13, 2018, he hosted presentations, workshops and college campus visits for the club with the goal to prepare high school students in an underprivileged area for post-secondary education. While working with Ana Arias, the club’s director of teen services, Mackenzie successfully implemented more than 20 events.
“I’ve spoken with some of the staff members at the club, and they stress that for a lot of the kids, there isn’t exactly much inspiration around them. They’ve been brought up and exposed to a harsh environment and poverty, something a lot of us have never experienced,” said Mackenzie. “The first step in the process is to help the students envision a goal/endpoint for their future, then guide them on how to achieve that.”
Some of the topics and presentations of the events included scholarship research, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) workshop, Stony Brook University student presentation, and a Farmingdale State College visit. The final event of the program was a college and career fair held on April 13, 2018, where representatives distributed information and answered any student questions.
“I really enjoy Mac coming here to the Boys and Girls Club of the Bellport Area,” said Shyniece Mosley, a student in the College Thursdays Program. “The college fair gave me the opportunity to meet and greet different people. The most memorable for me were the people from the bank that came. They set different scenarios about everyday life with financial problems.”
Mackenzie previously worked with BGC as part of the Business Honors Program during his junior year. For his senior year, the creation of College Thursdays and partnership with BGC not only had great impact, but fulfilled a requirement for his Honors Program. He will be continuing his education in the Master’s of Science in Accounting program at Stony Brook this fall and plans to continue College Thursdays at BGC.
The Boys and Girls Club serves children ages 5 to 19 throughout the South Shore community in Suffolk County and inspires them to lead successful and positive lives.
— Cohen Miles-Rath, Community Relations