In this issue: a student spotlight on Akosua Oforiwaa-Ayim, a celebration of NJ SEEDS' 25th anniversary, and an overview SEEDS' academic programs.
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Fall 2016
SEEDS' All Stars
SEEDS All Star Spotlight
Akosua Oforiwaa-Ayim
Scholars Program '03 | Phillips Academy - Andover '07 |
Columbia University '11 | University of Cambridge

Akosua completed graduate studies at the University of Cambridge earlier this year, and has recently started working as an Operations Fellow with Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform developing tools and resources for the unconventional traveler.

Why did you apply to New Jersey SEEDS?
It was a choice my dad and I made together. He wanted something better for me and I was looking for a challenge. NJ SEEDS fulfilled both of those needs beyond what we ever could have imagined.

What is the biggest lesson you took away from your SEEDS experience?
Oddly enough, SEEDS prepared me by teaching me how to fail. And that's one of the best things I took from my experience. When you realize you're no longer the smartest student in the class or no longer the biggest fish in the pond, you have to bring something else to the table. Determination, hard work, networking skills, whatever it is - it's all part of the intelligence package. Learning to fail with dignity, and as importantly, learning from that failure and coming back with a plan to succeed, were major lessons.

What advice would you give to current SEEDS scholars?
Take advantage of all the resources being afforded to you. SEEDS has gotten so much bigger, stronger and faster since I graduated. Milk it for all it's worth because, one, it can change your life, and two, you deserve to be there. You were chosen to be a part of this for a reason - don't let anybody tell you differently. 

If you could tell a potential donor one thing to make them support SEEDS, what would it be?
I recently visited the SEEDS office and when I saw Andy Hoge [SEEDS' Vice President, Admissions and Placement], I burst into tears and cried. A lot. That's the kind of impact the people dedicated to this organization have and I'm just one of many testaments to the way SEEDS is literally transforming lives and changing narratives. My story could have been very different, even with a strong family support system. Everybody needs help and SEEDS was that for me and my family. Now, it's part of everything I touch.
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NJ SEEDS Receives Grant from The Allergan Foundation

The Allergan Foundation, which provides philanthropic support and involvement to organizations making the lives of individuals happier and communities better places to live, has provided a $10,000 grant in support of SEEDS' College Scholars Program. Since its inception, the Foundation has made grants of more than $66 million, focusing support in four philanthropic areas: the arts, civic programs, education, and health and human services. New Jersey SEEDS is honored to become of the Allergan Foundation’s beneficiaries.
NJ SEEDS Honored by Essex Hudson Chapter, Jack and Jill of America

New Jersey SEEDS was honored by the Essex Hudson Chapter, Jack and Jill of America at its 10th Anniversary Fundraising Celebration. Held at the Avenue A Club on Saturday, October 8, SEEDS was recognized along with IHN, the Jubilee Center of Hoboken and the Jack and Jill Foundation.

Thanks to the Essex Hudson Chapter for honoring New Jersey SEEDS and for continuing to partner with the organization as we change the lives of high-achieving, low-income students in New Jersey!
SEEDS Parents Committee Kicks Off 2016-2017 School Year

On Friday, October 14, New Jersey SEEDS' Parents Committee held its first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year. Committee members heard from SEEDS' Dean of Guidance, Sharon Zucker, who led a workshop focusing on keeping students safe.

SEEDS parents are also assisting in this year's recruitment events. To learn how you can get involved, please contact Jamie McClintock at 862.227.9146.
New Jersey SEEDS Celebrates 25th Anniversary

For 25 years, New Jersey SEEDS has changed the lives of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families. Over the next year, we invite you to join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the nearly 2,300 students who have graduated from our academic programs. 

As part of this celebration, every week we will share some of our favorite photos from the past 25 years, along with interviews with current students, alumni, parents and friends. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram or Twitter to stay connected. Share your memories of SEEDS with us by using #25yearsofseeds.

Please consider joining us at one - or more - of the following events in the next year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.
  • Celebration of SEEDS’ First Graduates (Scholars ‘94): Saturday, January 7, 2017
  • Admissions Interviews (Volunteers needed!): Monday, January 23 - Thursday, January 26, 2017; Saturday, March 18, 2017; Saturday, March 25, 2017
  • 25th Anniversary Benefit: Thursday, April 27, 2017
  • Annual Arts Trip (Volunteers needed!): Saturday, May 6, 2017
  • NJ SEEDS Education Conference: May 2017
  • Graduations: CPP - Monday, June 5, 2017; College Scholars - Saturday, June 10, 2017; Scholars & YSP - Saturday, August 5, 2017
  • Precious Passdowns Boutique (Volunteers needed!): Saturday, August 12, 2017
  • 23rd Annual Golf & Tennis Classic: Monday, September 18, 2017
Help NJ SEEDS Raise $2.5 Million in Recognition of Our 25th Anniversary!

As we continue to celebrate our milestones, SEEDS is also committed to doing more for the highly intelligent, extremely motivated young people who continue to languish in our least privileged communities. The organization's goal is to double its impact and change more than 4,000 lives over the next two decades. To do this, SEEDS launched an $8 million Investing in Futures campaign last year. We have raised $5.5 million to date and now need your help!  

Want to learn more about how you can help us raise the final $2.5 million in recognition of our 25th anniversary? Contact Karen R. Gonon, Director of Development, at 862.227.9149. Please help us provide this critical support to reach twice as many deserving students.
Know a Student Who Would Make a Great SEEDS Scholar?

Encourage motivated, high-achieving students to apply to New Jersey SEEDS! SEEDS is currently accepting applications for its Scholars and Young Scholars Programs. Eligible 7th grade students can apply for the Scholars Program, and eligible 4th and 5th graders who live in the Greater Newark area (Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington) can apply for the Young Scholars Program. To be eligible, students must have A/B grades, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and meet SEEDS' income requirements ($70,000 for a family of four or fewer). Click here to request the SEEDS application, or sign up for information sessions in your city.

Nominations are also being accepted for SEEDS' College Scholars Program. Eligible 11th grade students must be nominated and complete an application before Friday, November 11 to be considered for admission. To learn more, contact SEEDS' Admissions team.
NJ SEEDS Raises More than $200,000 at Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

On September 12, Bleakley Financial Group presented the 22nd Annual Golf & Tennis Classic Benefiting New Jersey SEEDS (view photos). After initially being postponed due to rain, the event raised more than $200,000 from 140 golfers, tennis players and guests. In addition to remarks from SEEDS' Executive Director, John F. Castano, attendees learned about the impact of New Jersey SEEDS from graduate Helson Taveras (Scholars '10, Mitlon Academy '14, Columbia University). 

Thanks to all those who supported this year's event, especially this year's generous sponsors!

Programs Overview
Scholars and Young Scholars began fall Saturday classes in September and are now busy completing applications to selective day, boarding and junior boarding schools across the country. Each student will apply to approximately eight schools, with nearly 1,000 applications to be completed by the end of this calendar year!

In addition to working closely with their families and SEEDS to complete applications, students have been preparing for the admissions process in several other ways. On Saturday, September 10, more than 80 schools from across the country traveled to Dwight-Englewood School to take part in SEEDS' Annual Placement Fair. Following morning workshops on interview tips, the SEEDS common application, and financial aid, students and their families had the opportunity to meet visiting representatives.

Scholars and Young Scholars have been continuing test preparation at Saturday classes and will be taking the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) on December 3. Young Scholars will also take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) on December 10.

Students and their families also participated in mock interview evenings. Scholars met with SEEDS staff and volunteers at Dwight-Englewood School, The Pingry School and Seton Hall Preparatory School, while Young Scholars participated in interview sessions at Newark Academy. The four nights of interviews were designed to prepare students and their families for meetings with admissions representatives.

College Preparatory Program (CPP) Scholars and College Scholars also began classes in September with both programs spending Saturdays with SEEDS on the campus of Drew University. All 47 seniors are working on college applications along with the SEEDS staff. Students will each be applying to at least 10 colleges and universities, including several for Early Decision or Early Action. To prepare for college admissions, CPP Scholars and College Scholars also participated in mock interview evenings to finalize their preparation in meeting and engaging with college representatives. In addition, students and their families met with SEEDS staff on October 15 to complete FAFSA and CSS profiles.

CPP scholars took a two-day college tour in mid-September, visiting The College of New Jersey, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, and Gettysburg College. College Scholars also participated in a two-day college tour, visiting Barnard College, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College and Union College.

Best of luck to all of our students as they continue the application process!

SEEDS' Guidance department is beginning visits to SEEDS graduates at their placement schools across the country and helping high school seniors prepare for the transition to college. On October 15, the Guidance team hosted a financial aid workshop for students and families at the SEEDS office. More than 20 families came out for a presentation and one-on-one assistance in completing financial aid forms.

Over the next few months, the Guidance department will host several events for graduates. A college tour to Lafayette College and Lehigh University will take place on Monday, November 21. SEEDS' Annual Alumni Holiday Party will be held on Thursday, December 22 at the Hilton-Newark. Be sure to check your email for additional information!
Friends of SEEDS Welcomes New Friends at Fall Reception

The Friends of SEEDS, a committee of volunteers whose activities support and enhance many of the social, cultural and academic experiences of SEEDS scholars, hosted a fall reception at BoxCar Bar & Grill on Tuesday, October 18. Guests in attendance had the opportunity to learn more about New Jersey SEEDS from the organization's Executive Director, John F. Castano, and Friends of SEEDS Chair, Erika Fanelle. Michelle Keller was also introduced as this year's Friends of SEEDS Co-Chair.  

To learn more about Friends of SEEDS and how you can support New Jersey SEEDS, please contact Jamie McClintock at 862.227.9146.

Congratulations to the Porges Award Winners!

Congratulations to this year's Porges Award Winners: Eric Cardoza (Scholars '15, The Hill School '19) and Victoria Seymour (Scholars '13, Ewing High School '17)!

Each year, New Jersey SEEDS has the opportunity to present two $500 checks to graduates in recognition of academic and community achievements. These awards, which must be used for educational purposes, are the Leigh and Randy Porges Spirit Awards and are generously provided to SEEDS by the Porges Family. SEEDS received a number of excellent applications this year and wishes all the applicants the best of luck next year as they continue their educations!
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