Devin McDonald and Icylee Basketbill: ACE Program Success Stories

September 23, 2016

Hosted by Philip Thomas

In this episode, host Philip Thomas sits down with Devin McDonald, Icylee Basketbill, and Innovate’s own David Castro to discuss I-Lead’s ACE Program. A partnership with Harcum College, ACE (Achieve College Education) bridges the informational, geographic, cultural and financial gaps experienced by low-income working adults seeking a college degree by delivering accredited associate degree programs through unique partnerships with community-based organizations. Local organizations with the trust of the community recruit students, host classes and serve as liaisons with the college while earning unrestricted operating revenue. Originally a cohort of twenty students at one community based organization, over 500 working adults have earned associate degrees through the ACE program and over 600 are currently enrolled at twelve community partner locations across southeastern Pennsylvania.

Devin McDonald is a graduate of the initial cohort of the ACE program in the city of Chester, PA, who describes his experience in the program as nothing short of transformational. Mr. McDonald went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, become a human services professional and purchase a home in his community.  

Icylee Basketbill is a currently enrolled at Harcum College in the ACE program studying human services. She hopes the degree will pave the way to a career in marriage and family therapy.  Even with years of experience as an advocate and family trainer in the special needs community, Ms. Basketbill had not seen herself as a college student before speaking with ACE graduates. “I told myself that if he can do it, I can do it.”  

David Castro is the co-founder and President of I-LEAD, Inc., a school for community based leadership development that has served several thousand emerging leaders across Pennsylvania since 1995. Mr. Castro has studied and practiced community leadership development for more than 20 years, equipping community members as savvy and effective change agents to improve local quality of life. His personal mission is to liberate creative leadership for the common good, a mission articulated in print with the publication of Genership in 2012. 

Tune into the interview with Devin, Icylee, and David, plus click through the corresponding slideshow to the left… (Photo credits: I-Lead/ACE)