Kerry Elsasser:

Kerry recently returned to college after a 20 year hiatus. She will be attending New Jersey City University to complete her Bachelor’s Degree. This is her story:

My experience with Harlem Center for Education was very positive and fruitful.  Twenty years ago, I dropped out of  college.  After working in many jobs including bartender, waitress,  Administrative Assistant, Realtor and Fitness Instructor, I decided, at 41, it  was finally time to finish my degree. 

Marlene told me  to meet her at her office.  The next day,  she helped me apply for financial aid online.   She was kind and patient, and she didn’t laugh at all when I asked her  my “stupid” questions.  She was very  positive and encouraging.   Within a  month, I found out I was approved for both state and federal aid.  Going back to school was no longer a dream,  but a definitive future plan.

I am now enrolled  in school full time.  I will graduate by  December 2010.  Without Marlene and the  Harlem Center for Education’s help, I would certainly still be trying to find a  full time job at a four-year college with the hope of going to school at  night.  To help to show my gratitude, I  recently joined www.iGive.com/HCE.  It is the least I can do (right now) for the  agency that has helped me so very much.

Thank you Harlem  Center for Education—and especially Marlene Flax!  I look forward to inviting you to my graduation!


Tonja Crafton:

Tonja is currently in her second semester at the New York City College of Technology where she is a fashion marketing major. This is her story:

“Well, being an adult going back to get my GED was a little difficult in the beginning because I had been out of school for years. I had just had a baby with no job and the E.O.C. helped me by rebuilding my confidence and       reminding me that I can achieve anything by applying hard work and taking it step by step. That’s what kept me going everyday. The GED instructor Ms. Harris, was so inspiring, she kept me focused on the work and interested in attending class 4 days a week. Before I knew it, I had been attending school for about 4 months. I then took the GED test and passed it, all thanks to The Harlem Center for Education. The HCE helped me with not only GED preparation but with tutoring. They helped with any public assistance issues I was having, advisement, and with my Financial Aid forms for college, I even received a book scholarship to help me pay for my college books.  Last but not least, the staff is very warm and pleasant, they will answer all your questions and help straighten out any issues that may be keeping you from attending class.”


George Grullon:

George is in his second year at Queensborough Community College, where he is majoring in music recording technology. This is his story:

“What I got out of going to the Harlem Center for Education? I think I received in my words “the second battery’’ for the remote to work. Through my experience there are people who just come to work to come to work, but at the E.O.C. they wanted to help people to succeed. In your mind you may have never thought of going to college, but they encourage you to further your education and maybe even attend college too. The Center helps you focus on what it is that you would like to do in life, and they’ll help you look for the college, then if your thinking that also “Man, how am I going to be able to pay for college?” they’ll help you to find the information on financial aid and point you in the right direction.”


Alumni Contact Us:

We want to hear from you! Contact  David Perez