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College as a Second Home

United Way of Long Island's DREAMS for Youth Scholarship Program provides scholarships to deserving students so that they may achieve their academic dreams of continuing their education. Here is a reflection from scholarship recipient Toni of Southold, who feels like college is now her second home:

I was honored to receive this scholarship to help me pursue my goals at Marist College. It has opened the door fo many opportunities I may not have found elsewhere. This scholarship has shown that I should believe in my future success and have confidence in myself because other people have, which has helped me get to where I am now. I would have never been able to attend the college that is now what I consider to be my second home. It helped me purchase the books to classes that I was able to excel in, as well as any materials toward my success. It has also allowed me to thrive and be part of such a thrilling new experience that I am excited for what the future has in store for me. 

This year at Marist, I was able to meet many new people and find my place at my new home. I joined the Club Rugby team, which was a sport very new to me. In high school, I played field hockey, basketball and softball but unfortunately those sports weren't offered as clubs. I found my true heart playing rugby - we were nationally ranked as sixth in the nation and number two in the tri-state area. I also joined Campus Ministry and took part in many community service projects preserving the local trails, fighting world hunger and helping families in need. During the spring semester I interviewed to be part of the Ambassador program, where I helped potential students with their future college journey. I hosted potential students overnight and helped with tours on campus as well as during accepted students day. 

I was also initiated into the national sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, involved in philanthropy focusing on 'reading is fundamental' and helped local schools on their educational journeys. I was selected to be part of the Dean's Circle, which selects some of the top students to get connected with the Deans of the schools within Marist to help with scholarships, internships and connections for graduate school.

Overall, I had two successful semesters full of growth and enlightenment, with the hopes of many more to come!