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Youth Development and College and Career Readiness Unit-Youth Testimonials: Dania P.

Youth Testimonials shared by Dania P.

Greetings, my name is Dania P., and I’m currently a Junior at the Richard R. Green High School of Teaching. I first heard about NYU LPP from RRG’s Principal, asking us to apply for the summer program. Knowing that this would be a great opportunity, I applied for the program hoping I would get in. I was also an incoming freshman when I first applied, so I had no idea what the program was about.

High School student with red hair sits on a tan couch smiling at the camera.

I was disappointed when I learned that I was not selected for both SYEP and the NYU LPP summer program because all the spots were filled. However, a few days later, the Assistant Director emailed me that there was a spot open due to a student not being available to participate. I was so happy to hear the news that day and I immediately took up the offer because this meant that I would be productive during the summer. As an incoming freshman, it felt nice to participate in the summer program that would broaden my horizon. It also opened more opportunities for me to take part in great programs like Advocacy Day in Albany, The Empire Promise Youth Summit, tutoring, college essay writing and more throughout the school year.  I have also gained so many life skills that are needed beyond high school, like completing college, developing career goals, and researching job opportunities.

I’ve been participating in programs provided by NYU LPP for over 3 years now.  The NYU LPP staff are always very supportive and encouraging. As I mentioned previously, I gained many academic benefits from participating in the program. Not only did I learn and get paid, but I was able to participate in events such as the “Empire Promise Youth Summit.”  At this three-day event, I learned a lot about diverse communities and society.  I got to participate in group activities with students from over 51 schools and programs.  The theme was, “Don’t Just Survive, Thrive.” This has really helped me see life very differently ever since. I’ve gained a different perspective and new outlook on life after listening to Darryl (DMC) McDaniels’ inspiring speech during the LPP Summer 2023 Kick-off at St. John’s University. He shared his experiences as a student who was not popular and called a “nerd.”  He also learned as an adult that he was adopted.  This shook him, but he kept working on his goals. His message during his talk was all about taking advantage of opportunities and programs like LPP.  He is a good example of moving forward in life while facing challenges and disappointments.

As a sophomore, I was not thinking about college because I thought it was too early, or that I’m still young to think about college. But now that I’ve entered my junior year, I feel more mature and independent.  The NYU LPP has helped me be more focused and motivated about investing in my future. The program has also helped me realize that my goals can be achieved by putting in effort and managing my time well. Time is money, and money is power so to be successful, I would have to set my mind for it. I’ve also been thinking about attending NYU for college!

NYU LPP is like family to me; they constantly check in on me to make sure I am on the right track and not overwhelmed. I also try my best to keep in touch with them because the staff want the best for me, and I love new opportunities. I have learned that if the staff has faith in me, I should also have faith in myself and believe that I can work towards anything I want to achieve in life.  For instance, creating a group for mental health is one of my long-term goals and I have started working towards it.  I’ve also learned to be committed to something I love to do. I used to struggle with being constantly late and getting to places on time. As much as I enjoyed being in this program, I would always get there late due to me not managing my time well. I have learned the hard way that getting somewhere on time means 10-15 minutes early and thanks to Jasrin who never gave up on me, I am now always on time!

I would recommend NYU LPP to incoming freshmen and my other high school peers. This will help them get to know more people and get support throughout the school year. Participating in many events would help them with their career exploration, and help them attain more skills that are not taught in school. Resume-building was something that has helped me today with my job search. I honestly wouldn’t be the teenager now that I am who studies hard and focuses on important things if it wasn’t for all the motivation I received from the program. Being a participant of the program for over 3 years opened many opportunities beyond my imagination and I still look forward to learning more. NYU LPP has helped me grow a lot overtime and I really appreciate each and everyone that has put in all their time and effort in creating this amazing program and help struggling students like me to make the best of ourselves! 


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