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Support program at Hartford Public Library aims to help young immigrant women get to college

Beautiful latin american female student learning with teacher on private lessons
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A Latin American female student gets instruction from a teacher during private lessons in the classroom.

Hartford Public Library has received a grant aimed at helping young immigrant women remain in school and complete their college degrees. The new program is called “Barriers Can’t Stop Us: Building Immigrant Women’s Success” and is intended for students who came to the U.S. while still in high school.

Hartford Public Library was one of six organizations selected by the Aurora Foundation for funding college completion programs.

The program has three main goals: to reduce barriers, provide support and foster connection.

Michele Brophy runs the library’s after-school English language learning program for immigrant high school students, many of whom are new arrivals to Hartford.

“They're learning a new culture, they're learning a new language. And we're here to provide them with academic support,” Brophy said.

Brophy said young female immigrants face a unique set of hardships when it comes to post-secondary education. Students in the program will have the opportunity to meet with college access specialists and transition to college while receiving mentorship.

“Our work here at the public library is like a bridge between the community and the world of higher ed,” Brophy said.

Brenda León is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Brenda covers the Latino/a, Latinx community with an emphasis on wealth-based disparities in health, education and criminal justice.