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College STEPS Program Director, Addy Adames is the Student Who Became the Leader

At CHLDC, we pride ourselves on our commitment to post secondary educational persistence and success. Our College STEPS and Persistence program actualizes these goals through one-on-one college counseling, workshops, and programming geared towards academic and professional development.

Addy Adames, current Director of and former participant in the College Steps/Persistence program, plays a pivotal role in making higher education accessible and affordable for the East New York community. Addy’s hard work and years of engagement with CHLDC have contributed to the expansion of our college success programming. We have a robust and successful network of College Counselors, Youth Leaders, College Coaches, collaborating high schools guidance counselors as well as strong partnerships with college faculty and college administrators. Addy was first connected with CHLDC through her enrollment at the Student Success Center at the Academy of Innovation Technology (AoIT) high school on the Lane campus. As a high school student in the midst of her college application process, Addy received support from the college counselors employed under CHLDC’s Student Success Center on the Franklin K. Lane campus.

While these counselors are trained in providing college-related guidance, to Addy, much of the assistance she received originated from a more personal and emotional connection. As a first-generation college student and child of Dominican immigrants, much of Addy’s emotional and physical support came from her STEPS and Persistence counselors. Addy’s counselors provided unconditional support and guidance because they understood her familial and financial circumstances. “It was nice to have someone who understood me and was with me through the whole process”, states Addy.

During her time at Queens College, Addy began her first job with CHLDC as a part time college coach with the College STEPS and Persistence program. By actively applying the information she was teaching others, Addy describes how becoming a coach “really helped [her] get through college”. Her employment with the College STEPS and Persistence office helped her navigate and perfect her college experience. Addy expressed gratitude for the supportive, welcoming, and flexible environment within the program. “School always came first” at her job; in fact, high academic performance was a prerequisite for the counseling position. Through its compassionate team and strong expectation for academic success, it is no wonder that Addy describes the college counselor position as “the greatest job”.

After a few years working with the College STEPS and Persistence program, Addy was eventually appointed as Program Director. Through this role, Addy can see the college process through a more holistic lens and implement any necessary augmentations she sees fit. Upon taking this leadership position, Addy plans to make changes in the program’s advertising process. “Success isn’t just college, and college isn't necessarily a right fit for everyone”, explains Addy. Although the Steps and Persistence program has been geared towards college admission, Addy wants prospective participants to know that they can utilize the program’s services for non-college related matters. In describing her experience working at STEPS and CHLDC more broadly, one word kept coming back to Addy: “family.” Indeed, here at CHLDC we honor our family of staff, participants, and residents. “Cypress has watched me grow since I was a child. It’s had a big impact on me”, states Addy. We thank Addy for the impact she has had on CHLDC. On track to receive her Master’s degree, we look forward to Addy’s continued success.


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