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BOULDER, Colo. - Every community wants to help students facing economic challenges. Boulder is making headway with a program called "I Have A Dream." One of its dedicated volunteers is 7Everyday Hero Sheila Malcolm.
After 31-years of teaching, Malcolm started coming to Boulder's Broadway East Community Center. She gives her time for the "I Have A Dream Foundation" of Boulder County.
"It is a program that works with low income at risk youth throughout Boulder County," explained Francisco Mejias, Program Director, I Have A Dream Foundation of Boulder County.
Malcolm tutors and mentors the Iris Class, a group of 50 dreamers selected as far back as the third grade to learn and support one another, all the way through college.
"Everyone here is like family now. We're all such close friends. And we help each other as well because some of us go to the same school," said Lizzy, a sophomore student.
"I guess she's not only trying to educate us school wise but educate us like a person and how to be a better person," said Leslie, a junior in high school.
The I Have A Dream Foundation provides the framework for success, but it's Malcolm who supplies the emotional support.
"She is like a second mother to us because she's always here," said Leslie.
"My four grandparents arrived in this country with no papers, no English, and no money. I want to see kids of immigrants succeed in our community, in our culture," said Malcolm.
To build this kind of relationship with students requires trust, which takes time. Malcolm has been here for the kids every week for more than six years.
"If I didn't have fun, I wouldn't be here. So, it's mutually beneficial but it makes me happy," said Malcolm.
The Boulder East Community Center is nestled in a low income housing site, but thanks to volunteers like Sheila Malcolm there are riches here beyond measure. Just listen to how the students describe their I Have A Dream experience.
"They motivate me to try harder and get better grades and I just really like it here, it's fun," said Lizzy.
"It is like a safe environment and it's a nice place to come every day after school," said Leslie.