Shereece Blake '08
Kingsborough ASAP Winter '08, City College ’11
Current Student, Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
What were your early impressions of ASAP, and how did they change over time?
My first impression of ASAP was that it was going to be a great program to be a part of, based on the benefits that I’d be getting. And ASAP held up their end of what they said they’d help us with—especially the advisors, who were amazing, and my advisor Marisa Joseph. We’re still in touch, to this day.
What was the most rewarding thing about being an ASAP student?
I was the team leader of Kingsborough’s ASAP Leadership Team, and we were given the opportunity collect food stuffs, toys, and other supplies for various organizations for Haiti relief. I didn’t think that we would be able to collect very much, but the students really came together and we were able to send a lot of things to women and children in need. I thought that was very rewarding because we got to help people, and I was glad we had that opportunity.
What, in your opinion, makes ASAP unique?
I’d say the advisors. The advisors we had really were there for the students. My advisor had an open door policy: I could go to her for anything and everything and she was there to help. I think that’s what makes ASAP really effective.
Also, providing books for us and MetroCards every month took a burden off of me so that I could focus on my studies instead of worrying about how to finance my schooling. And I was able to take classes in the summer and the winter and completed my degree in a year! And that’s the goal: to finish ASAP within three years, and people are graduating in that time—and with good grades, too.
Looking back, how do you think that ASAP impacted your life?
I think that ASAP impacted my life greatly—and still does. I was able to build lasting relationships, and I’m still in touch with many people from the program: we still talk on the phone, and I just saw an ASAP friend recently. ASAP wasn’t a generic experience; it wasn’t just a program I’d do and that’s it. The friendships and the relationships with the staff really make ASAP memorable. The staff really went above and beyond, well past their job description.
We were the pilot group, and I’m glad that ASAP is still running because I think that students will continue to benefit from it. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s coming out of high school. I absolutely loved it.
What are your career goals and/or future plans?
I’m here in law school, so that’s the short-term goal. My plan is to finish up by 2014, and hopefully start practicing law. What I really want to do is open up my own facility that helps women and children.
I was an intern in the legal department of Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit that helps mostly women and children in domestic violence situations. They provide just about everything they can—housing, career placement, counseling services. I find that kind of work very rewarding; I want to see that I can really help my clients. I want to recreate something similar to Sanctuary, but I’d like to do that in Jamaica, which is where I’m from. I’ve had this dream for a long time. I’d really like to help out and give back the community, and I’d like to help people back home—but I need to establish myself here first.