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Lillian Castro

Director of Administration

Succeeding by Example

Lillian got her start in this field as a parent who wanted a voice in improving New York City’s schools. As she became more involved as a school board member, she went to college to earn a degree in education and business administration. “It was monumental in my family. The year I graduated was the year my daughter graduated from middle school,” Lillian said. “My daughter today has a master’s degree,” and a job as a teacher. Her latest success is with a young woman who came to work for her while still in high school, but who felt she was not ready to go to college after she graduated. “We liked her work. She had a lot of potential,” Lillian said. She gave the young woman opportunities to learn on the job and mentored her until she was ready to start college. “She never would have done it without our support.”

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Carmen Dingui

Site Supervisor

The Center for Family life
College Leads to Raise and Promotion

While in her 40s, Carmen volunteered to help lead literacy projects with kids at Brooklyn’s Center for Family Life, then went on to work there. She received a GED as a young woman, but had never acted on her desire to go to college. “When I was in high school I struggled because I didn’t speak English properly,” she said. As she grew older, “I was afraid I would have to sit in class with a bunch of young kids” who knew more than she did. Through the Center for After-School Excellence at TASC, Carmen attended a year of classes at Kingsborough Community College. She received professional certification in afterschool. She got a job promotion and a raise in salary. While attending classes she also connected with the school’s financial aid office, which helped her stay in school to earn her Associate’s degree. She plans to continue until she earns a Master’s degree in Social Work.

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Jeffrey Batts

Group Leader, Afterschool Program at PS 223, Queens

Child Center of New York
Back in School, Planning for the Future

Jeffrey started college after he left high school, and then he stopped. “I had no passion to go to school,” he said. He went to work in an afterschool program because he needed a job. There he found the motivation to resume his college education. “The students at PS 223 needed a role model,” he said. Most of their parents work long hours and more than one job. Often he spends more afterschool hours with kids than their parents do. He wanted to practice what he preached by going back to college through the Center for After-School Excellence at TASC.

Jeffrey used what he learned in college to take on new responsibilities at work, such as helping kids publish a school newspaper. He felt his self-confidence grow. He wants to earn a college degree in child psychology and direct his own afterschool site. “It would be the best site in Queens.”

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