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Group Helps Hartsdale Student-Athletes Prepare For College

Nancy McKenna poses with a Destination College student athlete. The Bronxville-based organization works with students in Mount Vernon, Hartsdale and Yonkers.
Nancy McKenna poses with a Destination College student athlete. The Bronxville-based organization works with students in Mount Vernon, Hartsdale and Yonkers. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Destination College and local high school sports programs are teaming up to help students who are scoring goals, baskets and touchdowns hit home runs when it comes to being prepared for college.

The all-volunteer organization provides student-athletes with assistance in filling out college applications, doing financial aid applications, writing essays and preparing them for the SATs, said Nancy McKenna, board chairman.

Currently, it is working with students from Mount Vernon High School, Woodlands High School in Hartsdale and Gorton High School in Yonkers.

In addition to helping with the college application process, McKenna said the 50 volunteers offer one-on-one tutoring, college counseling seminars, reading programs and even meals.

The organization also partners with Bespoke Education, which offers SAT preparation classes.

Many of the volunteers experienced the challenges of the college process with their own children and “know the drill,” McKenna said.

“We help these kids like they're our own,” she said. Coaches have even gotten involved, and their efforts are crucial to the program's success, McKenna said.

“We take that drive and ambition the athletes learn from their coaches on the field and channel that into academics,” she said.

Some coaches volunteer off the field, and the response from former students who are experiencing success thanks to the program has been rewarding, , according to McKenna.

The organization regularly holds fundraisers to maintain the program throughout the school year, McKenna said.

“The donors make a very big difference in the lives of these students,” she said. “What they do really matters."

McKenna said she enjoys her work with the kids. Everyone deserves an opportunity to go to college and get help with homework, she said.

“I get a lot of reward out of that, and I really enjoy helping the kids,” she said.

McKenna's next step will be to expand. The organization is looking at additional schools in Westchester County and welcomes athletic departments to inquire about the available options.

For more information about Destination College, contact Nancy McKenna at 914-572-7245 or by email at mckenna84@aol.com. To contribute to the program, monetary donations can be mailed to 81 Pondfield Road #290, Bronxville, NY 10708.