VOA Educational Talent Search’s First-Gen X Appreciation Week

Carla Camacho, Ed.D., VOA Educational Talent Search / The Center / March 03, 2021

Volunteers of America Los Angeles (VOALA) Educational Talent Search provided a three-day virtual event to celebrate the success of TRIO alumni first-generation students. From February 8th through February 10th, VOALA Educational Talent Search celebrated with the “First Gen-X Appreciation Week.” The event had great attendance from current TRIO students and staff from different TRIO programs under Volunteers of America’s (VOA’s) TRIO umbrella network.

The three-day appreciation event consisted of three panels with different panelists. On February 8th, the first panel consisted of seven current college students who reflected on the challenges they have faced as current students and shared about their college experiences through a Q&A discussion and a fun Kahoot. On February 9th, we hosted two panels; panel one consisted of four recent graduates who shared their college success stories, motivation to succeed, tips on building a sense of community on campus, and overcoming barriers in college through a Jeopardy game takeover. Panel two consisted of six TRIO Professionals who shared stories from their past including challenges, achievements, advice, and career stories through a “Wheel of Questions” game.

Each day, we entered participants in a raffle to win fun prizes at the end of each event to encourage participation during the panels. Participants were also entered to our final raffle during our closing ceremony. Prizes consisted of First Gen-X and TRIO gear (i.e. T-shirt, face mask, drawstring backpack), Amazon gift card, cute notebooks, and cool headphones.

Weeks before the event, participants who were invited to attend were also welcome to participate in our First Gen-X Contest Challenge. The challenge consisted of submitting either a photo, a one- to two-minute video, artwork/drawing, short poem or essay to express what it means to be a first-generation student or why attending college is important. Our first prize winner submitted a beautifully written and inspiring short essay on why attending college was important. Additionally, the first prize winner and the essay were featured during the closing ceremony.

Three days of virtual events and fun interactive activities were planned to provide proud first-generation graduates and current college students the opportunity to share their unique stories of success while being the first in their families to go to college.

For more information on VOALA Educational Talent Search’s approach, please visit their website here.