KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo Promise unveiled Monday a new look with its new logo and tagline “Your Path, Your Promise.”
The re-brand paves the way for future changes in the organization and the students it benefits, Promise leaders said.
“The new logo tells a story and we want people to see the Kalamazoo Promise is intended for every student to follow their path to a wonderful and prosperous future,” said Von Washington, Jr., Executive Director of Community Relations for the Kalamazoo Promise.
For far too long, Washington said, the Promise has been viewed as a means to a bachelor's degree. However, the Promise recognized college is not for everyone, Washington said. The re-brand aimed to show people the Promise looks to help every student follow their own journey to a better tomorrow, whether that means a bachelor’s, a two-year college, vocational school, or something else.
The percentage of Kalamazoo Public School Students eligible for free tuition at in-state schools hit an all-time high in 2017, but that same year the number of students utilizing the Promise dropped to a 10-year low.
Monteze Morales said, “Right now just with the way the economy looks, students want to have jobs, they have to have some security so although they have a scholarship available that may interfere with their living situation where they feel like I got to work, I got to eat and right now school is not the answer. So here at Kalamazoo Valley you can go part time to help you balance school work and life.”
Morales was the director of the Promise program at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in March 2019 and worked with Promise recipients at the college.
“We have a lot of barriers in Kalamazoo we have one of the highest homelessness rates in the state,” Morales said, “it could be that they're single parents or they just don't understand college, but that dropout rate doesn't just apply to them I have students who are from a great socioeconomic background who still struggle when they come to college because they may not be prepared or they're not ready to come to college.”
Similar to Promise coaches at KVCC, the Promise plans to staff Pathway coaches at Kalamazoo high schools to help students figure out the next best step for them before high school graduation.
The Promise was slated to move to a new location in the summer of 2020 and planned for the new building and programming. The Promise also planned for addition of new staff, serving as Pathway coaches, and a student center for academic assistance and resources to help students transition from high school to post-secondary education.