As a young seventh-grader at Lebanon Middle School, Kyle Sylvester ’09 learned about the Lebanon Valley Educational Partnership (LVEP) and the idea that he could benefit from mentorship and receive a scholarship toward an LVC education. Like many of his peers, Sylvester thought this offer sounded great, but he felt that it was too good to be true.
A few years later, what once sounded like fantasy became a reality.
“While in high school, the partnership program helped me not dread the idea of going to college. The cost of college alone can be discouraging, especially if it was not common for immediate members of your family to attend—let alone graduate—from a college or university,” said Sylvester. “The partnership offered a tremendous opportunity, not only with assisting with tuition but providing mentorship, which I feel is just as important.”
To give a little more detail to how the program works, the Lebanon Valley Educational Partnership places high-achieving eighth-graders at Lebanon Middle School alongside current LVC student mentors throughout their middle and high school years. If these students maintain good academic standing in college preparatory classes, they become eligible to attend LVC on a tuition scholarship.
At LVC, Sylvester not only involved himself in the campus community, but he also achieved a great deal of personal and academic growth throughout his four years.
“One of the most memorable experiences I had was the Hurricane Katrina Relief trip,” he said. “I traveled with faculty and fellow students to Saint Bernard Parrish in Louisiana in 2008. I was able to see some of the devastation firsthand and how Hurricane Katrina ruined communities and displaced residents.”
The group picked up debris, helped with home repairs, and provided assistance to an animal shelter operating beyond capacity. He encourages all students to volunteer, whether on campus, in the community, or on service-learning trips.
Also while at LVC, Sylvester completed an internship with the Youth Advocate Program and spent two years as a youth advocate while attending LVC full time. After graduation, he transitioned into a role as a family-based support specialist.
While he graduated with a criminal justice degree, Sylvester realized that he enjoyed traveling, working with people in need of treatment, and coordinating with different agencies to transport people to receive the services they need. He transitioned to YTA Transportation, a private, multi-state, human services transportation company that specializes in transporting patients to residential, behavioral, and rehabilitation health programs. He has worked his way up the career ladder from transportation specialist to manager to director of operations.
Sylvester manages day-to-day operations that include providing quotes, training staff, coordinating transports, creating a schedule, and ensuring vehicle maintenance and safety.
Looking forward, Sylvester continues to find new ways to improve his organization’s safety and service through the Covid-19 pandemic. Personally, Sylvester and his fiancé are raising two children, including a newborn daughter. He gives credit for his success to the LVEP donors.
“Attending Lebanon Valley College was invaluable in my personal development and career. It gave me the confidence and knowledge I needed to be successful in my career. More importantly, I now have a solid foundation to raise my own family, provide for my children, and instill in them the importance of higher education.”
— Darby Seymour, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant