MVB Student Sets the Bar High Through Volunteer Work

BY TRONE DOWD and BOB HARRIS

Jamaica resident and all-star student Jalen Gonzales is a senior at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. At just 17 years of age, Gonzales has a resume of which to be proud.

Jalen Gonzales

Jalen Gonzales

One of his more noteworthy works includes volunteering with a group known as the “Senior Mentors.” The group, established by Van Buren High and modeled after the My Brother’s Keeper Program established by President Barack Obama, helps keep freshman boys focused on their academics, attendance and overall involvement during the school day and year.

Additionally, Gonzales also comes into the Student Opportunities for Achievement and Readiness (S.O.A.R.) office to tutor students who have a variety of academic needs. The program is operated by the Central Queens Y. Every other Sunday, he volunteers as a nurse assistant at a health care ministry.

Outside of school, Gonzales and a friend have formed their own business designing and customizing their own line of sweat shirts, sweat pants, sneakers, hats and other trendy clothing items. He also finds time to stretch his athletic legs and play football for the Rifles, a private team in Jamaica.

Academically, Gonzales has taken an Advanced Placement (AP) college level course in environmental science and has passed a total of seven regents exams on the way to earning his AP diploma. As of this writing, he has plans to attend Nassau Community College in the fall, then Stony Brook University to earn a bachelor’s degree in health administration.

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