One year ago a story about TRIO Upward Bound was published in West Anchorage High School’s student newspaper, “The Eagles Cry”. This story gave us information on what TRIO Upward Bound is and what it was like from a student’s perspective. For those who may not know, TRIO Upward Bound is a college prep program that is for first-generation students with low-income backgrounds to help them get to college.
TRIO Upward Bound not only assists first-generation students get to college, providing a variety of opportunities to their members such as tutoring, college and career exploration, college tours, volunteering opportunities and more. Last year, TRIO Upward Bound created an extension of itself called the TRIO Leadership Committee, also known as TLC. TLC is meant for students to take on leadership roles within the program and to try and lead the program and help fellow students.
Within the committee there are four sub-committees which are Social, Community Service, Workshop and Career Exploration, and the Peer Mentor Program. The Social Committee takes care of all of TRIO’s social events. The Community Service Committee takes care of finding and coordinating volunteer opportunities with other organizations and/or possibly creating their own service projects such as the Blanket Drive.
The Workshop and Career Exploration comes up with with workshop ideas and different career exploration opportunities. Then the Peer Mentor Program Committee is responsible for managing the Peer Mentorship Program. The Peer Mentorship Program is an exclusive opportunity for new TRIO UB students that provides them guidance, as well as helping build new relationships with one another among their fellow peers within TRIO Upward Bound.
Jessica Delgado, the advisor of TRIO Upward Bound at West, says, “We think it is important for students to take on leadership positions and have both a voice and some sort of control over their educational experience, so we decided to create and implement TLC last academic year here.”
In response to how the committee impacts other members, Delgado responds with, “TLC members play a role in deciding what kind of activities and workshops we offer throughout the year, which then impacts the TRIO experience of other members. Additionally, TLC members are expected to set the tone at each event by being the best version of themselves. Most importantly, TLC members are a support and resource to their peers.”
Jester Refuerzo, a senior at West, is currently one of the TRIO’s TLC members. Within TLC, Refuerzo is a part of the Community Service Committee. In response to why he joined, Refuerzo said, “I joined TLC because I wanted to be in TRIO more in-depth, I thought that being a regular member was great but being able to help Ms. Jess come up with events and organize opportunities for people, I thought that was really helpful.”
Refuerzo says that his favorite part in being in TLC is that he’s able to be around people that have the same goal as him, in which he says, “We all want to help first-generation students become better and engaged in the community.” Refuerzo’s goal is to help Delgado with the program to help make it better, more engaging, and make more well-known at West. His advice for future TLC members is, “just don’t be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone.” Because if it wasn’t for that, he believes that he wouldn’t be in TRIO at all.
Aulona Ljena, a junior at West, is also a part of TRIO’s TLC as well as the Community Service Committee. Back in November of 2019, Ljena was the one who came up with and created the Blanket Drive. The Blanket Drive works to donate blankets to homeless shelters and those in need in Anchorage. Ljena’s goal is to “organize a big volunteering event.” The one thing Ljena enjoys the most at TLC is, “going to the meetings and checking in with everyone and helping them out.” Ljena hopes to make an impactful change in her community by including and welcoming all of TRIO Upward Bound’s members.