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Bank of America helps MVCC create New Citizens Academy

On Thursday, May 23, representatives from Bank of America presented a $7,500 grant to the Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation. The grant, part of MVCC’s Challenge and Opportunity major gifts campaign, will be used to support the College’s forthcoming New Citizens Academy.

The New Citizens Academy is slated to launch in 2014. Funded by the Challenge and Opportunity Campaign, the academy is a new program to help refugee students prepare for academic success and college entry. Its goal is to serve 40-50 low-income, high needs refugee students annually, helping them develop literacy skills, career interest, and a positive outlook toward education in a summer camp setting.

"MVCC students and our local refugee community have reason to be deeply grateful to Bank of America today," said Frank DuRoss, executive director of institutional advancement for MVCC. "This support will be instrumental to help MVCC to build on its strong tradition of helping refugees access educational success."

The program will operate a two-track program and run for a total of four weeks. Campers will be divided into two groups that will meet four days per week, with each session concentrating mainly on literacy and career development. The two-pronged project’s goal is to increase education attainment of refugee youth by first addressing each participant’s current learning status and then promoting goal setting based off of those results. The New Citizens Academy hopes to increase the number of refugee youth entering and succeeding in area high schools and colleges.

Young people in the New Citizens Academy are encouraged to:

  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve reading, writing and communications skills
  • Develop problem-solving and critical thinking abilities
  • And much more!


"The New Citizens Academy will provide the life-changing opportunities and solutions that Utica’s refugee students need to overcome in order to succeed in their goals for a new life," said Dr. Randall VanWagoner, President of Mohawk Valley Community College. "The program will start these young students on a path to academic achievement and career awareness by preparing them to succeed in high school and enter college, and granting them the foundational knowledge to prepare for productive, satisfying careers."