The impact of COVID-19 on youth in our community has led youth serving organizations to mobilize and develop a summer youth program to be called the Bea Gonzalez Summer Fellows. The program is named in honor of Bea Gonzalez, who recently retired from Syracuse University after 43 years. (see more details below about Bea’s remarkable contributions to the community)
The 821 youth who will be the Bea Gonzalez Summer Fellows will be engaged in educational programming for 15 hrs per week over 4 weeks between July 13 – August 31 and will receive a stipend of $599 upon completion of the program. To ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures, the 819 Fellows will be participating in virtual and in-person programming provided by 15 not for profit organizations. Each organization will operate a unique program centered around four deliverables: financial literacy, work/life skills, reproductive wellbeing, and self-care.
The youth serving partner organizations include: Boys and Girl Clubs, Building Men, Coordinated Care Service’s SCORE program, Good Life Foundation, Hillside, Huntington Family Center, I-90 Elite, Le Moyne College, Peace Inc’s Let Me Be Great, Northside Learning Center, People’s AME Zion Church, RISE, Street Addiction Institute, Inc, and Syracuse Community Connections.
The Allyn Family Foundation has taken a leadership role in supporting the leaders of youth organizations to collaborate on this innovative summer program. Financial support for the program been provided by Syracuse University as well as the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, Allyn Family Foundation, Gifford Foundation, Reisman Foundation, and The United Way.
About Bea González
Bea González’s dedication to the Syracuse community is rooted in her upbringing and her time in grade school after her family moved to Syracuse permanently from Puerto Rico when she was a child. She participated in Head Start, Upward Bound (a program that helps students prepare for college) and the Neighbor Youth Corps (providing teenagers with summer employment opportunities). At age 14, she worked as a fire prevention educator, teaching elementary school kids about fire safety. She was elected class president in her senior year at Corcoran High School.
As an adult, González served on the Syracuse City School District board and was elected president of the Syracuse Common Council, becoming the first Latinx to hold that position. She began her 36-year career at Syracuse University as an academic counselor at University College (now Syracuse University Global) before advancing to become associate dean, interim dean and then dean. In 2015, González was named special assistant to Chancellor Kent Syverud, focusing on issues of diversity and inclusion. In 2017, she was appointed vice president for community engagement, drawing from her lifetime of community involvement, strong relationships and years of distinguished public service as an elected official to energize and strengthen the connections between Syracuse University and the greater Syracuse community. González retired from the University in early July 2020.