Perhaps the most powerful participant in the three-day PromiseNet conference was New Haven Promise Scholar Jordy Padilla, now a senior at the University of New Haven. With many of the Promise program directors in the room at Friday’s breakfast, Padilla sat down with New Haven Promise Executive Director Patricia Melton and laid out the challenges and the — at least temporary — solutions for the undocumented student.
It was evident that many in the room did not know much about DACA — the President-ordered Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — but Padilla changed that in less than 20 minutes. After Travis Carbonella’s video was played, Padilla freely answered all questions about his experience and journey in the hope that the visitors would take the information back to their communities and devise ways to address Dreamers, who are those who need the most support.
Padilla then sat on a Student Voices of Promise panel, moderated by Yale’s James Doss-Gollin, with UConn’s Fontaine Chambers, Southern Connecticut State’s Niasia Mercado and New Haven Academy’s Mark Ifill-Haney. Seeing the Promise scholars tell their stories — and answer questions like the pros they’ve become — proved a wonderful way to close PromiseNet 2014 and look forward to PromiseNet 2015, which will be Nov. 11-13 in Kalamazoo, Mich.