A new partnership between Colorado State University and the Boys and Girls Clubs of metro Denver could make college an attainable and realistic goal for thousands of underserved and low-income students.
The partnership is a first of its kind. At the Cope Boys and Girls Club in central Denver, kids work on hands-on, character building programs.
And now, the mission at all clubs in Denver goes well beyond that.
"They were like, 'This is going to be your goal. We want you to go to college and study something you fall in love with,'" said Roxana Bustos-Flores. Bustos-Flores is one of the first students to take advantage of the new scholarship program between the two entities.
"If you do the hard work of preparing yourself to go to college, we want to be there," said Amy Parsons, executive vice chancellor for CSU.
The trailblazing program will award any Boys and Girls Club member who gets accepted to CSU $2,500 a year for four years.
"It really opens their eyes up and they get that spark in their eye and they're ready to charge and take advantage of this terrific partnership we have with CSU," said John Barry, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of metro Denver.
"Our branch director, Steve, he graduated from CSU. So, when I told him I was going to go to CSU, he got really excited for me," said Bustos-Flores.
In another effort to get kids excited, the Boys and Girls clubs will be bussing high school students up to CSU this year, showing off the campus.
"What's really important, we've learned, is actually getting them onto a college campus," said Parsons.
"They're going to see the dormitories and gymnasiums, all the facilities, so they can visualize themselves there," said Barry.
Barry likened it to a new era, giving under-served kids a real shot at college.
"It's a new method for us to carry out our mission," said Barry.
"Before we entered the Boys and Girls Club, we never thought about going to college," said Bustos-Flores.