Delta College Readiness Initiative

We are empowering youth from under resourced communities to access and excel in college.

Photo of Yasmine Malone
1 2

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

October 3, 1998

Help us stay in touch!

Yasmine Malone Oxford, MS 38655 662.313.4189

Date You Started Your Project Started

12/ 13/2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Our workshops are designed to give students immediate services and resources needed to transition and succeed at institutions of higher learning. Many students from Delta schools do not have the proper guidance on how to navigate life after high school. Many either students will matriculate to poor performing community colleges, enter the workforce or do neither. This continues the cycle of poverty and aimless fatalism.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

If more Delta students are given the support and resource knowledge they need to access, afford, and navigate institutions of higher learning they significantly increase their chances at overall success in life and create a ripple effect for their community. When a first generation college students from low income background is able to succeed in school, it helps to develop a relationship with college for their community that was unestablished at first. They give their siblings, cousins, and peers an innate feeling of pride and inspiration that they too can do it. Their success translates into their personal lives, communities, peers and family who do not have a history of college education. Individual success benefits rural communities so much that it is for everyone’s benefit that we invest in the individual.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I am currently the only university student in my immediate family. (Although I have a twin and three other college aged sisters). When I come home for holiday breaks or weekend visits, I have an entirely new perspective of the world. I have been exposed to life outside of poverty, crime and stagnation of rural Southern living that gives me a bigger vision for my life goals and a better understanding of economic, political and academic institutions. Two of my older sisters attempted to graduate from the University of Mississippi (which I now attend). I graduated at the top of my class at Clarksdale High School but immediately began doubting myself when I came here. If I had not been blessed with a such a strong support system, I would have dropped out or transferred to a less challenging, less esteemed institution. This is why I want to extend the courtesy to those who come behind me.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

This project is designed to meet the needs of students from Delta schools by bringing resources to them through their former peers, alumni, community entities. We believe that access to higher education for students will make a positive impact on Delta Communities in the long run.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

This project is designed to meet the needs of students from Delta schools by bringing resources to them through their former peers, alumni, community entities. We are bringing the ideas of national college prep organizations and localizing it to fit the needs of our Delta peers in order to meet our community needs.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our first and only workshop this far was hosted at Clarksdale High School, where we hosted a 5- day one hour workshop to seniors. We have helped students connect their story and experiences to potential career paths, most of whom have had no prior exposure to understanding how their interests and passions can connect to their college and life goals. They were then able to construct personal statements for college and scholarship essays. We have taught students how to network including skills of: constructing emails, making phone calls and interviews. We also taught financial aid literacy and time management skills. Some student surveys can be seen here:

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We want to create a curriculum that is transferable to any underresourced school that wants to increase college readiness in their students. This way other organizations and schools can reciprocate our programming for their students with limited assistance from us. This will also encourage community involvement in schools so that we can be sure to bring in successful school alumni, notable locals and city leaders to help the experience resonate more with students. We want to centralize community resources so that the project is sustainable. We also want to provide more ACT Prep resources to seniors and underclassmen. We already planning workshops in Clarksdale, MS & Marianna, Arkansas this fall.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Monitoring Impact

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Attachments (1)

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Ozzy Simpson

Hi Yasmine! I think you’ve identified a really important issue that needs someone to solve it. I also think that you have a unique connection to it that will allow you to approach it in a better way than someone else more privileged might. One aspect I would like to see more of is how you plan on scaling the project, while still keeping it personal—for example, it’s easy to write an ACT test prep book and distribute it (perhaps even online), but there are already a lot of free resources out there. I think the challenge then is how you will provide more personalized support and coaching to youth from under resourced communities and still be able to have a wide impact. I’m excited to see where you go with your project!