By Matt Kroschel


LEADVILLE, Colo. (CBS4)– Deep in the woods outside the small town of Leadville, a group of young people work together to conquer the feat of a wall face at a challenge course. It’s part of a program designed to get these students into, and then graduated from college.

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“The community that the students have with each other, they are such a source of support for each other,” said Yuri Shane, Colorado nonprofit founder of Access Opportunity.

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Access Opportunity is a six-year college counseling program working with largely underserved students in their junior year of high school. That includes minorities and low-income families.

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The group provides the students with all kinds of college and career opportunities including workshops on college applications, essay writing, speakers from different careers and internship opportunities.

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They work one-on-one with the students to overcome all the barriers they face to getting to college. Then once they are in college, they continue to counsel them through their college career.

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Nicky Gallegos made over the top of the wall with the help of his group members. All of these students are at different points in their Access Opportunity journey.

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“It shows me that I can be successful… there are other people in my same situation,” said Gallegos.

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He is the first in his family to attend college, a junior now studying Spanish and international studies.

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The organization was started because only about 65% percent of underserved students graduate from high school and only about 11% of those who graduate go to college. A stunning number of them drop out of college because they are unsupported during their college experience.

(credit: CBS)

Access Opportunity brought their students in the program to Outward Bound as a bonding exercise on Thursday. But the work continues out of the forest along the Front Range as the organization reaches out to assist more first generation students get into college.

(credit: CBS)

Matt Kroschel

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