ST. LOUIS - Jenifer Briones, a Boys Hope Girls Hope Scholar from Arizona recently graduated from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois with a degree in film and digital media. Briones says she ran a political campaign in Phoenix after graduation. "I'm excited about creating change in my community," smiled Briones.
Boys Hope Girls Hope International, a charitable organization in St. Louis helps youngsters in the U.S., Guatemala, and Mexico realize their dreams of graduating from college. "We give them all the support they need," Kristin Ostby De Barillas President & CEO of Boys Hope Girls Hope beamed.
LaShone Gibson, Senior Director of University Partnerships and Academic Excellence for Boys Hope Girls Hope says the support the youngsters who participate in the program get beginning in middle school, includes grants and full scholarships from various universities such as Saint Louis University. "That's a driving force behind how we identify colleges and universities that we establish partnerships with those that are providing opportunities of access and affordability."
The goal is not only to help students secure a higher education but to also help them find a path out of poverty. "A lot of our kids are the first in their families to go to college," said Chuck Roth, Executive Director Boys Hopes Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans. "We talk about breaking the cycle of poverty through education all the time."
Students who receive financial packages have to meet specific academic requirements and demonstrate financial need. They also receive help with social skills, time management and developing strong study habits. Jenifer Briones says she wouldn't have been able to achieve her goals had it not been for all of the support she received from Boys Hope Girls Hope, "It's the people. It's our mentors and fellow scholars we look up to. I'm grateful for the people I can point to who helped me with my homework. You helped me get there."