Did you know that one TWU program has been responsible for successfully getting thousands of first-generation and low-income students on the path to higher education?
The Mobile Go Center is an outreach initiative within the TWU Go Program. This program is a part of the Closing the Gaps campaign adopted by the 77th Texas Legislature. The MGC travels to school districts around DFW sharing information on and access to higher education. According to Associate Director of Go Programs Angelica Landeros-Henderson, MGC began in conjunction with the G-Force Mentor Program in 2007. “Our goal is to get as many students as possible to pursue higher education,” she said.
Mobile Go Center & Outreach Coordinator Philip Kwong explained: “We work to serve students and families that come from a variety of backgrounds, aiming to bridge that gap between high school and college. We aim to work with students who aren’t familiar with the collegegoing process, specifically first-generation students and students at schools with a lower socioeconomic background.”
Inside of the MGC, students gain access to laptops, televisions and high-speed internet which can be utilized in researching education options, learning about college readiness and completing the application process. Other MGC resources include presentations on college life and financial aid, college checklists, scholarship searches and college guides and catalogs.
“But it’s not just the resources that we provide, it’s the services – especially the assistance for FAFSA, TAFSA, and even registering for the SAT or ACT,” Kwong said, “I think the most important of the services we provide is one-onone mentoring.”
The Mobile Go Center is primarily facilitated by TWU students volunteering as G-Force Mentors. Landeros-Henderson said: “The majority of the time at these events there are Spanishspeaking families, so a lot of our G-Force mentors are bilingual. That assists us tremendously. Sometimes the high school students don’t feel comfortable speaking to the staff, but our mentors can really relate to them because they are about the same age…G-force mentors bring a lot to the table.”
Both Go Program staff and G-Force mentors recognize the importance of focusing on first-generation students. G-Force Team Leader Alexis Sikorski shares: “I did not have help trying to get through college applications, and there was just a lot of Googling and unnecessary stress that would have been relieved if I had somebody to help me.”
Kwong said: “It’s so important that we focus on first-generation families because they don’t have someone in their family whose gone to college before. Most people who graduate from college typically have someone that’s been in college to serve as a role model or an example. That’s one of the biggest hurdles.”
G-Force Team Leader Representative Maritsa Guerrero says: “I think the most rewarding thing is knowing that [the students] have applied to the universities or colleges or technical schools, and knowing that there’s someone there who cares about them and wants to help them succeed…I hope that they can pay that forward along the way.”
Reportedly, MGC had 26 events in 30 days last October. Though Mobile Go has long surpassed its initial goals, Landeros-Henderson said: “We are still continuing because the need is there.”
From TWU staff to students, there seems to be a common goal and shared passion for uplifting others and ensuring access to higher education for all. Guerrero: “In the end, we want them to get a higher education. We want them to succeed. We want them to be better than us and to pursue an even better future.”