PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- With students across the country struggling to pay for college, Port Chester resident Ishbart Gonzalez is turning to the Internet for help with his tuition.
Gonzalez has launched a campaign on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo in an effort to raise money for his education. A member of the Port Chester High School class of 2013, he is currently a freshman at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he is studying to become a director and cinematographer. He is hoping that his campaign can raise $225,000 to pay for four years of tuition, plus food and transportation.
Gonzalez said that his family fell under some hard times over the past few years, which have made paying for school a challenge. He was not able to secure any federal student aid. His mother has taken out one loan, and he is also trying to apply for scholarships. He says his classwork and his schedule of traveling back and forth between Port Chester and the city makes it difficult to hold down a job to pay for tuition, but he is planning on working during breaks to raise money.
"A lot of people I know give up or drop out when money becomes an issue," he said. As the first person in his family to attend college, he is determined to make it work. "I grew up surrounded by educated people, and I know the difference that higher education can have on someone's life."
Gonzalez has been active in the Port Chester community, volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club, Port Chester Cares and the Don Bosco food pantry. He has also been working to make sure that his younger brother, a freshman in high school, does better in school.
"I've been helping him more, encouraging him to be more proactive, because I don't want him to have to go through what I've been through," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez wants to be a film director and cinematographer when he graduates, and has a passion for documentary films.
"I always wanted to get to the heart of the audience. Whoever I'm showing my movies to, I want them to leave feeling different, I want them to have learned something at the end."
He knows that his campaign is asking for a lot of money, but he believes it will be successful and that people will give to help him achieve his dreams.
"I'm a man of faith, I think it will do well."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.