"Upward Bound helped us when we were struggling with clases, get internships and helped us through the process of attending Texas Women's University (TWU)," Molina Alum, Jeanette Avila
"They would also help us get scholarships, we would look into different scholarships we didn't know were even out there and they wouls give us access to those scholarships as well," Molina Alum, Jennifer Avila (right)
A first generation college student is a student who is primarily the first one in their immediate family to attend college. To further explain, a first generation student may not have the adequate support or resources as a non-first generation student. For twins Jeanette and Jennifer Avila, being upcoming first generation students seemed like “no problemo” thanks in part to LNESC Upward Bound Program.
“Upward Bound helped when us when we were struggling with classes, get internships and helped us through the process of attending Texas Women’s University (TWU),” Jeanette Avila said. One way the program was able to helps the girls overcome first generation struggles was due in part to financial support. Because of the “Upward Bound” program, the twins were able to obtain $13,000 in renewable grants and scholarships. “With Roger and Ray and all of the Upward Bound Program, they helped us communicate with the school and see if there was anyway, they could offer us more money,” Jeanette Avila said. Some things the twins did to go above and beyond the financial process was have constant communication with their selected university, whether it was through phone or email. While TWU was able to help the twins get some financial support, it was the Upward Bound program that pushed them to go over the top financially. “They would also help us get scholarships, we would look into different scholarships we didn’t know were even out there and they would give us access to those scholarships as well,” Jennifer Avila said.
Along with supporting the girls financially, the program also provided support in the format of a “familia.” “Previously we were in another program, and when that program ended we joined the one we are in now and we definitely felt a new sense of feeling being in the program,” Jennifer Avila said. “Being in the program helped us academically, financially and just as a support and us being a family.” Whenever the girls needed someone to talk and prove the guidance upcoming first-generation students needed, the Upward bound program was more than just an 8-5 office. “We felt like we could go to them if we needed help and we didn’t have to be like oh no you can only call at a certain time,” Jeanette Avila said.
Both girls truly believe if it were not for the program, they would have been provided the opportunities they had been given. Being a first generation student is not easy, but the LNESC Upward Bound program has made the college process easy and provided its students with the key resources needed to excel post high school. “If it were not for Upward Bound, I truly believe I would not be attending TWU,” Jeanette said. While Jennifer added, “I got so accustom to being in the program that I don’t see myself getting the same opportunities without them.”
LNESC Dallas covers Sunset, Molina and Pinkston High School, while also providing numerous programs for Dallas middle schools. The program continues to encourage students to reach their potential and provide them with opportunities that allow them to succeed through financial assistance, educational opportunities and guidance. It is the students that make the program successful.