South Sider Khristina “Tina” Castillo is a second-year student at Kennedy-King College who is working towards a degree in clinical psychology. As she looks forward to a career helping others, Tina admits that her own journey has had its share of challenges, too, including the stress of dealing with various financial burdens.

“My mental health was going down to shambles because I was so stressed,” she said.

The transition of moving from Bridgeport to West Pullman also brought some complications to Tina’s education. Without internet and computer access at home, she had to bike to her nearest library to complete coursework for her remote classes, which also made her subject to the library’s schedule.

However, Tina’s determination to excel in school led her to search for resources available at City Colleges. She applied for the Chicago Connected program, which provides eligible students with free home internet, and she earned a free laptop to keep through the Learn to Own laptop program.

“I saw that my school was offering something to me, and I decided not to fight alone. This was something that would assist in the quality of my education, and I am deserving of that,” Tina said.

The tech equity programs at City Colleges alleviated much of her frustration, and she’s now able to take her remote classes, write papers, complete research, and search the web from the comfort of her own home. Tina plans to complete her degree this fall and is looking forward to continuing her education at a four-year university

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