Every two weeks, in a conference room inside the Cityplace skyscraper in Dallas, a collaboration gets underway. It’s the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas' Collegiate Steps program.
North Texas high school students meet with mentors from diverse professions, learning what they need to know to get into college and stay there until graduation.
"It's given me the tools that I need to be on my own and be who I want to be," said 12th grader Amadi Pate. "And the mentors are great because I can see other professionals and I can see where I can end up if I go to college and if I use the tools that they've given me."
Carolyn Jordan of the Boys and Girls Clubs says one of the ways to help teenagers graduate from high school is to give them something to look forward to. And this program is the boost many of the students involved say they need.
"I'm surrounded by good people, and that's one of the things I like," said 10th grader Erick Torres.
The sessions between mentors and students happen every two weeks, and are usually packed. The students learn to navigate the college selection and application process, and get help applying for financial aid. And they form invaluable relationships.
"A lot of what makes it work is the mentoring relationship, the one-on-one that we give the kids," said mentor Cindy Lodewick. "The time that we talk to them outside of these sessions makes them want to come back, makes us want to come back, and it's just the bond that we have with the kids."