Paramount and the United Neighborhood Houses presented Informational Technology High School student and Corona resident Cecilia Castellon with a $1,500 scholarship. The United Neighborhood Houses – Paramount Scholarship was given to her for her leadership, academic excellence and community service.
The Jacob A. Riis Settlement‘s Learn and Earn program helped set Castellon up with internships, college readiness support and other resources, like finding a summer internship and good leadership workshops in which to take part. Castellon is heading to Hunter College this fall.
“I really appreciate being a recipient of the [United Neighborhood Houses – Paramount] Scholarship,” Castellon said. “It really helped with the tuition and I believe it’ll also help once I begin looking for career opportunities.”
According to Castellon, she intends to major in political science at Hunter College. She said she hopes to make a career working in the world of politics, though she doesn’t currently envision becoming a politician.
Thanks in large part to her extracurricular work and strong grades, Castellon became a nominee for the scholarship. She was recommended for it by the Jacob A. Riis settlement after assisting her in academic advancement, college readiness, relationship building and other key facets of success.
She was then tasked with writing an essay on subjects like her accomplishments, experiences and aspirations. Her essay left a strong impression and she was chosen to receive the scholarship.
For over a century, United Neighborhood Houses has mobilized its members and their communities in New York City to advocate for good public policies and promote strong organizations and practices that keep neighborhoods resilient and thriving. The policy and social change organization represents 45 neighborhood settlement houses that reach approximately 765,000 New York state residents from all walks of life.
Founded in 1889, the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement provides comprehensive services and programs to youth, families, immigrants and seniors in western Queens. Integrated social-cultural, educational and health programs are provided annually to approximately 1,800 people by the organization. The staff aims to help community members of all ages and backgrounds achieve their goals and become more self-sufficient.
Settlement houses have long provided community members like Castellon with the opportunity to improve their lives through participation in several activities and services. These include education, housing, health care, employment opportunities, recreation and the arts. Although times have changed since the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement house was founded, its commitment to strengthening underserved communities remains a hallmark.