Program provides college prep help to high school juniors

The Lasko College Prep program has offered Jewish high school students paid summer internship placement and college preparation for 15 years.

Job well done: Allison Kaminsky and her Lasko mentor, Rhonda Cohen, pose at JEVS’ Human Interests Center City office, where Kaminsky works. Kaminsky credits her job to the Lasko program, which has been connecting local high school juniors with college resources for 15 years. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

When Allison Kaminsky was a junior in high school, she was reluctant to join the Lasko College Prep Program. She had done decently on her SATs, but the then-George Washington High School student eventually figured it couldn’t hurt to join – and she’d get some money out of it, too.

It was a decision that’s helped shape her life ever since.

The Lasko program connects Jewish high school juniors with resources to help with the college application process, from SAT prep and essay writing to help filling out FAFSA forms. This year, the program runs June 22 to Aug. 7 and participants will be placed in a paid summer internship while receiving college guidance.

The program, entering its 15th year, sees about 15 to 20 participants each year. In addition to receiving the help, the program forges long-lasting relationships, said Rhonda Cohen, administrator of community resources at JEVS.

“They’re so happy they did it,” she said.

In Kaminsky’s case, it helped her land her current job in human resources at JEVS. Cohen served as her mentor during the program, and the two stayed in contact afterward and are now co-workers.

“It’s the reason I’m working here today,” Kaminsky said.

Before taking the program, Kaminsky had secured a $7,000 scholarship at Temple University, but once her SAT scores rose after taking the program, her scholarship also rose to $10,000.

The program provides tutoring for tests like the SAT and ACT, a search for colleges and scholarships and help filling out a college application. It will also host college campus tours and other social events. Students will work three days a week at a Jewish nonprofit organization they are matched with, which is generally determined by what the placement is looking for and how close the students are located.

In previous years, the program was meant for low- to middle-income families, but this year they are trying a sliding scale depending on the family’s financial situation.

To apply, visit JevsHumanServices.org/lasko-program/. To learn more about financial guidelines or other information, call 215-832-0876 or email LaskoCollege@jevs.org.