Boys and Girls Clubs Get NBC Universal Grant

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas are among four winners of this year's NBC Universal grants.

The organization is receiving $25,000 for its Collegiate Steps program, which is designed to help students make it out of high school and on to higher education.

One recent graduate of the program is Isaac Cedillo, who is starting college in the fall. He's said he is not sure he would be going if he not been a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.

"It would have been very hard," Cedillo said.

Collegiate Steps is for high school students who are members of any Dallas Boys and Girls Club. Students visit college campuses and are linked up with mentors.

"The benefit is keeping them in high school," said Charles English, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas president. "If you look at the dropout rate here in Dallas -- 35 percent overall dropout rate. If you look at African Americans and Latinos, it's over 50 percent. That is a huge burden on the taxpayers."

The organization pays application fees for participants to apply to colleges and for scholarships.

"We started out with 30 seniors last fall, and this past May, 30 graduated," English said. "And of those 30, 28 are going to college with scholarships."

Cedillo will attend Texas State University in the fall.

"Most of the kids in Collegiate Steps are like me, the first going to college, grew up with a hard time in life," he said. "That program makes you grow out of your circle."

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