Community college to boost volunteers who help students get to college

The Community College of Philadelphia is starting a new program to assist community volunteers who help neighbors and first-generation college students get to and through college.

 The program is called “Pathfinders,” named for the volunteers who “work behind the scenes” to assist students in their college-going quests.

 A kick-off event will be held from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on April 8 at the college’s welcome center, in the Pavilion Building, 17th Street south of Spring Garden Street. Community college graduate Christopher Thomas, who now attends the University of Pennsylvania, will speak at the event. Thomas, 37, was featured in an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about students who go from community college to the Ivy League.

 “Students sometimes enroll in college, then stop out or drop out as a result of life challenges,” Diane Kae, manager of the college’s Student Outreach and Recruitment, said in a prepared statement. “Some of our most successful students say they reached their goals because a neighbor, family member or stranger stepped forward to help them enroll, and prevent them from leaving college.”

 The new effort will supply information, tools and resources to the volunteers, the college said.

 “By meeting with them regularly, the college will be able to identify innovative practices and share them with our diverse community partners,” Kae said in the statement.

 Those who join the Pathfinders program will be asked to tutor students preparing for community college placement exams, bring groups of first-generation college students to campus for tours, explain how financial aid works and assist in finding scholarships for students. The college will hold information sessions each semester for the volunteers and provide ongoing advice via email.

 Those interested in volunteering for the program or attending the orientation on April 8 should RSVP to Kae at