WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Robyn Austin faced significant challenges to earn her degree from Westchester Community College. The college’s Single Stop resource center, which assists students with tax preparation, financial counseling, health programs and other services, provided a huge benefit for the Mount Vernon woman.
Austin won $1,000 from the national Single Stop organization for a video in which she describes the challenges she faced in earning her degree and the help she received from the college’s Single Stop personnel. Students can receive assistance from Single Stop by filling out an intake form .
“Absolutely,’’ Austin said when asked if she would have dropped out of college if not for the assistance from Single Stop. “I have been doing this for about seven years. I have worked to get as far as I have right now. If it wasn’t for Debbie (Santora) and Chrissy (Carbone) making sure I got where I needed to be, assisting me with my search to provide myself with room and shelter, and transportation, I would not have made it through. They made sure I got where I needed to be. They made sure I was well taken care of. They helped me with everything.”
Austin said her mother died while she was still in high school, and at the time she first went to Single Stop she was homeless. The organization helped her find a place to stay and also assisted her with clothing, food and transportation. “They were such a blessing,’’ Austin said.
Austin plans to continue her education and earn a Bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology. “There are students in the same situation I was in,’’ Austin said. “I feel like I can relate to them a lot and get them to where they need to be, like so many people who have helped me.”