CHLDC@Work: Lawrence Louis

What He Does

Lawrence Louis is the Director of the College Persistence Program, which provides support services to college students with the goal of helping them to become successful college graduates. Lawrence came to CHLDC in 2012.

His Background

Lawrence’s parents came to the U.S. from Haiti in the 1970s. He went to Vassar College, where he was one of a small number of black students.  “I was in this predominantly white space, which was different.” Navigating these experiences, as well as experiences he acquired while obtaining a Masters in Education at Tufts, teaching in Washington D.C., and serving as a college counselor in NYC at Harlem Children’s Zone, shaped Lawrence’s abilities to relate to students and help them to do their best in college.

The College Persistence Program

The College Persistence Program provides year-round support to college students through peer counseling from College Coaches and various services that include office hours held on campuses at the schools that students attend, summer academic programs, and workshops on subjects such as financial literacy, resume writing, and job readiness. With the program, as Lawrence says, “If you ever need somebody to talk to and facilitate something–office hours, talking to a professor, issues with bills–you constantly have a resource.”

Impact

We are seeing great success in College Persistence! This past fall, the College Persistence Program provided counseling to over 500 college students; 89% of the freshmen we worked with this year persisted for one year of college. The rate of high school students in our programs who immediately enroll in college after graduation, 72%, exceeds the national average of 66%. The first class of students enrolled in four year universities are on track to graduate in the spring of 2016.

Favorite Part of the Job

“I am really proud of where we are now. We are going into our fourth year and we are still around. To see the level where we were in 2012 and where our College Coaches are now is amazing. To see an 18, 19, 20-year-old really own a FAFSA or be able to troubleshoot, to see a young person help another young person who is going through the same thing, is so inspiring.”

College Persistence Programming is supported by the Clark Foundation, the Charles Hayden Foundation, the Carl Marks Foundation, New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, the Pinkerton Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation. 

 

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