About the S.T.A.R.S. Program
S.T.A.R.S. Program (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success)
The S.T.A.R.S. (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success) program offers Latino/a/x youth in grades 7th-12th grade the opportunity to explore their long-term academic goals through one-on-one academic assistance and exposure to diversified post-secondary educational paths, trades, and careers.
S.T.A.R.S. seeks to create a middle school to college pipeline for underserved and underrepresented Latino/a/x youth through continuous collaboration with their families, school districts, local universities, community organizations, churches, and Marywood University's diverse offices. The goal is to provide a safe haven to facilitate information, resources, skills, awareness, and empowerment to the youth and their families on how to prepare and succeed on reaching their long-term academic/career goals. By becoming a part of the S.T.A.R.S. program, the youth and their families will engage in community and group-based, culturally attuned mentoring activities and experiences that will build individual relationships and a sense of belonging among the Latino/a/x community.
Marywood University, founded in 1915 by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, prepares students to have a positive impact on society at regional and global levels while providing each student with the foundation for success in an interdependent world. Marywood University’s mission “roots itself in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the principle of justice, and the belief that education empowers people.”
Hence, Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success (S.T.A.R.S.) is an after school mentoring program that has been developed in collaboration with Marywood University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion to provide academic and social support to the growing Latino/a/x youth and their families in Scranton, PA and its surrounding areas.
By taking pride in the Latino/a/x cultures emphasis on the values of Familism, Respect, and Heritage/Traditions, the program uses a community and collectivism approach to empower the youth and their families to develop skills and increase their self-efficacy on advocating and preparing for their future.
Through various pro-active, university-wide and community partnerships, S.T.A.R.S. seeks to serve as a bridge between the Latino/a/x community and various educational opportunities, to ensure Latino/a/x youth in NEPA learn about diverse career paths through early preparation and academic and social mentoring. This enables this community to make educated and informed decisions on pursuing workforce opportunities in the trades, military, manufacturing, etc and/or to pursue and succeed in higher education.
Therefore, in the summer of 2018 Marywood University was awarded a grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to fund the initiation and first year of the S.T.A.R.S. program. In collaboration with the Scranton School district, St. John Neumann’s Parish, community organizations, and Robert Spitz Foundation, the program took place in the school of St. John Neumann Parish on Orchard St., in Scranton, PA. The space, donated by the church, was chosen based on the results of the survey in which parents indicated that a site in Scranton’s south side would offer easy accessibility and greatly increase the frequency of their children’s participation.
Furthermore, in the spring of 2022, the McGowan Charitable fund awarded a $60,000.00 grant to Marywood University to expand the S.T.A.R.S. program. This grant will allow for more youth and families to be served on a weekly basis, with homework help and mentoring, and will enable new community partnerships to provide as many wrap-around services as needed by the community.
The program will expand to 2 days a week instead of one in the fall of 2022 since it will split the middle school students and high school students to meet separately (Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m.) at Elm Park Methodist Church in downtown Scranton, PA. Likewise, the expansion will allow for more diverse on-site educational experiences, extensive wrap-around services, and an expanded summer camp.
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Career Aptitude Tests
Post-Secondary/College Education Exploration
The S.T.A.R.S. program has been a success due to local University students who have committed their time to mentor and empower Latino/a/x youth. Mentoring will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday at Elm Park Methodist Church from 4-5:30 p.m. We will be following Marywood University’s schedule for dates of programing. Whenever Marywood University is closed due to holidays or weather, the S.T.A.R.S. program will also be closed.
If your schedule only allows for you to participate one day a week, that is okay. We only ask that you come on the same day each week, because you will be paired with the same youth throughout the academic semester and/or year in order to develop a trusting relationship and build rapport with the youth. If you, a student mentor volunteer, would like to be part of this wonderful opportunity, please email or call S.T.A.R.S. Program Director, Jenny Gonzalez Monge, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-348-6253 for more information. The college student mentor will complete an application and participate in a S.T.A.R.S. mentor orientation before starting the program. Lastly, before any student can volunteer, they must obtain clearances.
Information about obtaining clearances can be found at the links below:
- PA Criminal Background Check(Click new Volunteer Record Check)
- PA Child Abuse Clearances
- Create a New Account
- Log in to Existing Account
- FBI Criminal Background Check(fingerprinting)
- Volunteers must enter Service Code 1KG6ZJ
- Then click on "Schedule or Manage an Appointment"
If a student has been a Pennsylvania resident for at least 10 years, then they do not have to obtain FBI clearance. If student is not a PA resident for 10 years, then they should. FBI clearance is the only clearance that costs $23.85. The rest are free, as long as student applies for clearances for "Volunteer" purposes.