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College Success for Your Family: Part 1

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Narrator: We've all heard the expression, It Takes a Village. But ask a lot of college students today and they will tell you, It Takes a Family. In this video, you'll watch as families help each other achieve success - lending emotional, social and financial support to ease the challenge of getting an education. College is an investment of time and money. And though there is delayed gratification, the future payoff is huge. Graduates are likely to see increased future earnings, better career options and they become role models for others. We begin with the story of Leanna Patricio. Today she's visiting some of her former instructors at South Seattle Community College. Leanna is ahead of the game thanks to a program called Running Start. She graduated at 18 with both a high school diploma and with her AA degree. Then, she transferred to the University of Washington where she is now very close to graduating in Speech and Hearing Sciences. Leanna Patricio, Graduate: Yeah, I am really proud of myself for going to college. It's not a given for everybody to go to college. I've realized some people struggle through high school, and so to make it as far as I have, I feel pretty good about it, and I know that there's a lot more college to go still, but I think attending class and really trying to put in the effort, I am proud of myself for sticking it through. Narrator: A big help for Leanna was the support of her family. So, let's meet Leanna's mom. Melanie Meligro, Leanna's Mom: I was a student here and got my AA degree, and then I worked, started working here after. Narrator: Melanie says because of her job at the college, Leanna has known about the benefits of higher education for a long time. And Mom's knowledge of the system has really paid off especially with the process of getting into school and applying for financial aid. Melanie: It was a little confusing. A lot of paperwork. A lot of personal, financial history that I'm not used to giving out which is what you have to do, of course. So I have to say it was a little hectic at first, but it started to smooth itself out. Narrator: For Leanna, it's not just Mom's inside knowledge about college that helps, it's the emotional support and love. Leanna: And she continues to help me now. And I can come home and whine about classes, and whine about all my homework that I have to do and she listens to it. And that's all I need. I just need someone to listen to me. Narrator: Melanie listens, loves and supports her daughter, and she is the first to tell you she is Leanna's biggest cheerleader. Melanie: Because she truly wants this I truly want it for her, and so when she talks about it, it just kind of warms my heart. I don't know how else to say it, that she wants something so badly and I want it for her. Narrator: At every turn, Leanna has appreciated the support of her mother. She's succeeding at a four-year university, thanks to hard work, a great two-year education at South Seattle Community College, and the support of her family. Now, Leanna says, she wants to pass along that support. Leanna: I have an older sister who started some vocational training and it didn't quite work out for her, so I'm basically doing this in the hopes of kind of getting some experience to help my little sister when it's her turn to go to college. Narrator: Leanna made the decision to pursue higher education because she knew it would open the door to a future full of potential. In their native Iran, Shokouh and her family were faced with a future with limited potential without higher education. So Shokouh, Kaveh, Farzaneh, Samira and others in their family made the difficult decision to leave all they knew and loved behind. Shokouh Pardakhtim, Student; We left Iran in 2001 due to religious persecution. Because being Bahá'is, we can't go to university, so my parents decided to leave. My dream always as a little kid was to teach, to be a teacher. I always wanted my mom to be a teacher. But we never, I knew that I would never have the chance till I was 18 and my parents decided to leave Iran. Narrator: It was only through support within the family that they could make this drastic change. They made their move to the United States. And it did open the door to potential. But it wasn't easy. They suddenly found themselves living in a new culture with a different language. Shokouh: So coming from that background, that culture, it was a culture shock to come here, and to go through all the difficulties to learn a new language that I didn't know how to speak. To learn a new culture that was totally different from where I came from. And I remember there were nights when I would just cry and say 'Dad, I would never be able make it, I will never be able to speak English, I will never be able to go to college. To work, I don't know how I am going to survive.' Kaveh Rafiei, Student: It was very hard for me and Farzaneh because we were older than Samira and Shokouh to learn English and we have a son. Samira Pardakhtim, Student: For me the hardest thing was speaking, and because of the accent, you know, you can't communicate very well and then people don't understand you and they say 'okay, what, what' and you have to just repeat and repeat, and then they can't get it and they get confused, and it's really embarrassing. Narrator: By encouraging each other and sharing information and resources they were discovering, the family was able to offer the support each needed. And with a new found freedom, they could now pursue higher education and their dreams. Kaveh: And after we came here we had a lot of problems with English, and so we passed all these problems and right now we are happy because Farzaneh almost done in Medical Assisting and I am taking the prerequisites for LPN. So, that's it. We are happy right now. Farzaneh Dehghani, Student: Narrator: And now Shokouh is achieving her dream to be a teacher and wants to help others facing difficulty. Shokouh: So going through all those difficulties, it wasn't easy, but it made me who I am now, it made me a stronger person, someone who wants to change other people's lives and wants to influence other people's lives and become successful. Emma Schuster, Student: My name is Emma Schuster. I am 19 years of age and this is my second year here at South Seattle. I am Samoan. Nichole Alefaio, Student: My name is Nicole Alefaio. I'm 16 years old. This is my first year; I'm in the Running Start program. I identify with Samoan, Hawaiian, Tongan, and Tokelau. Douglas Maipi, Student: Franchesca Maipi, Student: I'm Francesca Maipi. I'm 17. This is my first year at South. I am Micronesian and Apache Indian. Narrator: The four students on this panel can tell you a lot about family support, and they explain that support comes in many different ways. Francesca: We do talk about college a lot. And it's mostly me and my mom, because my dad travels a lot for his job. And most of those conversations are about financial aid and my transcripts. If I ever need anything, like if I ever need homework help, I would just go to her all the time and she would just help me. Especially in the Math because that's not my field at all. And she just pushes me all the time just to go to school. She just gives me, sometimes I don't even want to get up for school because I have to take the bus, so she just gives me a ride to school to make sure I'm here. Narrator: Douglas Maipi is Francesca's uncle. They're sitting next to each other on the panel today. Douglas is studying English as a second language. Interviewer: Is this your first year? Your first...? Douglas: My second quarter. Interviewer: Tell me how your English is now compared to what it was maybe four months ago. Is it improving? Douglas: I think so. Narrator, to Francesca: Do you think so? Francesca: Yeah. A lot. Narrator: You can sense Francesca's pride in her uncle Douglas's progress. And she's been there every step of the way. Francesca: Well, his first quarter was a little rocky, but I think it was just him getting used to school and all that again. And he was doing okay in class, but this second quarter he's really improved, like his grammar and the use of plurals. That's really helped. The ESL's really helped him in that way. Narrator: Francesca has big plans that relate to her family and her heritage. Francesca: I hope to go back to my island and set up like a little youth center. And just like a place where people, where kids can go to do homework, hang out, because over there there's nothing really to do. You just go to school, and then you go home and do the chores and then you just go to sleep. And that's it. But a lot of kids won't do that. They'll just go home and go out on the streets and find something else to do. But there's nothing there. There's no movie theaters. Well from the island that I'm from, there's no movie theaters, there's no restaurants, no fast food restaurants, there's no ice skating rinks like here. There's nothing really for amusement. So that's what I try to hope to create down there. Narrator: Emma relies on her family a lot, even though they're half a world away. Emma: With my mom being in the islands still, she's always just a phone call away. And every time I needed help or anything I would call her and say 'Hi, what's going on? This is what's happening in class,' and, you know, she'd just say 'Hey, just stay focused.' And when I first got a job, she's like 'Hey, you know what? You're just there to go to school and not to work. So you better cut those hours down.' Narrator: Emma's mom is from a different culture and generation, but she clearly understands Emma's long term goals. Emma: She owns a business, but she didn't go to school for that. And she knows that in her generation it was just your experience that got you further, longer in life. But for now, for us it's, without that piece of paper you won't get any further in life. And so that's why she pushes us to go to school for that same reason. She wants us to have the same or better achievements in life. and, her knowledge is that to get the better achievements we have to stay in school and get that diploma, get that degree. And so, that's why she's very motivational and she's very pushy to go to school. Narrator: Nicole credits heritage for the closeness of her family, but realizes the cultural differences also create certain barriers when it comes to school. Nicole: Oh yeah, they're definitely supportive, like family, like really me, they're... Samoans are really family-oriented, so they're always supportive, and like everything else. They just, they don't know how to be supportive. Emma: I'm assuming they want to help, they just don't know exactly how to help. Nicole: Yeah. And my younger cousin, she's in the Upward Bound program, and so she's kind of my support because we're both trying to do something with college, so... And their support is mostly like, 'Stay in school' and 'Make sure you go to school.' So, there's that. Narrator: The Young family is enterprise in action. Ella and Van Young are entrepreneurs. They own a successful Chinese American restaurant. All the children have an eye on higher education and big future careers. This is the Young's restaurant in South Seattle. The three daughters, Janice, Colleen and Angela have worked in the family restaurant for many years. It is, after all, a family enterprise. But there's a new focus for the family now. Janice: Young, Graduate I was a student at South Seattle Community College and I got my AA degree. I received it on June 2007, and I transferred to Central Washington and I'll complete that March 2010. Interviewer: And what are you studying? Janice: Bachelors... Interdisciplinary studies. Colleen Young, Student: I'm a student now at South Seattle, and I'm starting my second year, and I'm going for my AA. I'm thinking about Business, but I'm not quite sure. Narrator: Colleen credits her older sister with the inspiration. Colleen: I don't think if Janice wasn't there to encourage me, then I probably would have just took a break and worked. So it helped a lot that, you know, she was kind of there to pull me in. She did everything she could actually. She actually went to school with me, you know, showed me where everything was. She introduced me to all the instructors and, you know, she was there to pick me up after school and asked me how my day was. And, you know, she did everything she could 'cause, like I said, my attitude wasn't very good going into school. And so she would just always be the one to like, 'Do it, you know. Just do it. You'll be okay.' It helped a lot. Ella Young, Mother of Students: Interviewer: When Janice first started college, what was life for you, what was it all about for you and your family? Angela Young, Student: She encouraged me to do what I want to do. Because I want to do Film -- so every day she would say, 'Do what you want to do and don't be afraid. Don't be afraid - just do it.' Narrator: Janice talks about family support and the family business and how they've worked it all out. Janice: Um, that I don't have a lot of free time. You know, when I do have free time, I have to do my homework. And sometimes it's challenging because I have to help my parents on the weekends. And my family has a family business restaurant, and sometimes, you know, the expectation is, you know, help them out on weekends when I can. But sometimes, I feel bad when I'm like 'You know what? Mom, Dad -- I can't work. I have homework. I have a test coming up.' And I feel like I'm letting them down because they'll be short-staffed. Narrator: But Colleen says they found compromises to make the family business work. Colleen: Yeah, I think so. Well - we're really flexible with the schedule. Because, like, let's say if Janice couldn't work, then maybe I would take over or Angela would take over. So we're pretty flexible with each other's schedules. And, you know, we let each other know 'Okay, this day I can't work' or, you know, 'Can you work for me?' So, I think communication is the just the most important part about it because then, you know, we can all kind of work with each other and it makes it easier on all of us - especially my parents. Because they always worry about 'Okay, who's going to work, who's going to work,' you know? So, I think, you know, having the three of us go to school, it's easier because then we can talk to each other. Narrator: One hurdle many families face is financial aid and getting to the information needed to apply. Janice: When you're under 24, you have to have your parents' income; you have to include that. And sometimes, if the two parents are not together, you still have to find them and track them down. Um, however, I'm over 24, so I didn't have that problem. So I just put my own income. Narrator: Now, the Young family has hit its stride and figured out the financial challenges and personal contributions to the family business. Narrator: But Ella's kids have listened and they are deeply, deeply grateful. Janice: I would like to say thank you to my parents for supporting me all this time. And when I have a good job, I'll support them back. Ella: So I could retire.

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 30 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Director: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Views: 101
Posted by: scctv on Nov 2, 2012

The support offered by family members plays an important role in the success of a college student. Making Achievement Possible (MAP) Video Series: MAP is a college success video series designed to help students, potential students, and their families learn to navigate the college system and gain the skills necessary for academic success. MAP consists of sixteen short videos, each with curricular materials for instructional use. All videos were funded by a Department of Education/AANAPISI grant to South Seattle Community College. More information is available at

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