Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar
Jah-Ni Blanton-Dale

Benefits for Scholars Reach Beyond Graduation

Many programs help students reach a college campus, all sharing the altruistic goal of bringing equity to educational opportunities across any demographic. Once a Scholar gets to college, the need for support does not end. A program that supports Scholars through college graduation and towards a clear path to future employment is powerful. 518 ElevatED provides this continuing support – separating it and our Scholars from the rest.


Meet Danielle Howard

Danielle is a 2009 graduate of Troy High School whose path to her post-secondary education was not straightforward. Like many first-generation Scholars, the pull from family can be a compelling reason to stay home. After spending her first year at Colgate University, where she studied biology, Danielle found herself back where she started. But through determination and 518 ElevatED’s support, she realized her goals, even if they were a little different than she originally envisioned.



Support beyond the classroom

First Generation College students often have unique challenges and needs that create barriers to higher education opportunities. Danielle credits her mentor, Sheila, with providing support and encouragement throughout high school, helping her make decisions on things such as Advanced Placement courses and college visits. But Sheila’s support was more than just academic. When Danielle’s mom became ill, it was Sheila who encouraged her to go to prom and even helped pick out a dress. Sheila ensured her college applications got completed on time, and when it came time to shop for the never-ending list of college essentials, Sheila was there for that too.



There is a place for all who want to learn

When family circumstances caused Danielle to return home after only one year at Colgate, disheartened, she decided to take a year off from school. Realizing she wanted to complete the promise she had made to herself and those at 518 ElevatED who believed in her, after a year of working full-time and a suggestion from her stepbrother, Danielle became a certified EMT. She went on to enroll in the paramedic program at HVCC. Having kept in touch with 518 ElevatED, Danielle utilized her remaining stipend to help defray the cost of her education.



The future is bright

Today, Danielle is a student again and credits the support and confidence she received from 518 ElevatED as the reason for her success. As the Lead Medical Staff at the Amazon Warehouse, Danielle is working towards her nursing degree, and Amazon is covering the tuition. “If I didn’t get the support – financial and emotional – from 518 ElevatED, I would not be qualified for the position I have today. A position that is enabling me to continue my education. I owe 518 ElevatED for this opportunity. It was a life-altering experience,” recalls Danielle.


Hoping to become involved with the 518 ElevatED community as a mentor in the future, and the desire to give back and support the program that supported her is ever-present in her mind.

Help other first-generation Scholars, like Danielle.  Donate today!