FAMU alum giving back to incoming freshmen with school essentials baskets

FAMU alum helping incoming freshmen prepare for college
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 3:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:34 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - One FAMU alum is giving back to her school, providing incoming freshman girls with all the essentials they need for college.

Yennifer Castillo will be hand-delivering baskets full of notebooks, folders, pencils and a whole lot more to 10 lucky students ahead of the start of classes.

“There was not much money for me to go to college,” Castillo said. “My mom gave me $60 and I was supposed to just make that work.”

Castillo knows what it’s like to struggle to pay for the essentials in college.

Now, as a FAMU grad, she wants to help young women who are in a similar situation.

“At first, it was just going to be like one or two whatever I could afford,” Castillo said. “I was going to pay for it myself.”

But soon, the initiative grew.

Over the last five years that she’s been doing this, people have donated and sponsored baskets, allowing her to give even more.

The baskets have everything from pencils and folders to hygiene products to sheets for those twin XL dorm mattresses.

For some, it’s not just about the gift, but the relationship that came out of it.

“You can tell like she really wants to see you win,” Ayanna Fontaine said. “And you just know that you have someone in your corner.”

Fontaine was a recipient of one of Castillo’s baskets two years ago.

She said neither of her parents attended college, so she didn’t know what to expect.

“I really didn’t know what to do,” Fontaine said. “I didn’t know what to prepare for.”

After meeting Castillo when she hand-delivered the basket, Fontaine said she gained a friend--one she could go to for pep talks, encouragement or advice.

“That meant so much,” Fontaine said. “And it still means so much to me right now.”

Castillo is still accepting applications from incoming FAMU female freshmen. The deadline is Sunday, July 24.

You can apply here.

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