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‘Minds Matter’ Helps Steer Students To College

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When most teens are taking a break from reading and writing, dozens of high school students choose to spend their Saturday in a classroom.

They are part of Minds Matter, an organization that helps low-income students prepare for college success over a three-year program.

The Twin Cities chapter of Minds Matter was founded by Kelly Miller.

“We’re trying to show them that there’s a lot that the world has to offer, and there’s a lot they can achieve,” Miller said.

The path to academic achievement is paved by honing writing and critical thinking skills, which are committed to memory via interactive learning.

High school juniors like Anthony Camano Enriquez are prepping for the ACT and SAT tests.

“It’s a program that helps me understand more about college, you know. And it just prepares me for things I didn’t even know were out there,” Enriquez said.

Students are walked through the process with the help of young professionals like Emir Begonavic.

“It’s fulfilling for me to help someone,” Begonavic said. “But really it’s about the students and what they’re doing.”

Begonavic is one of many volunteers who work with the students every Saturday during the school year. The focus goes beyond the academics, including help with test prep, scholarships and leadership skills.

“You can just tell that they’re gaining confidence and growing through it,” he said.

This mentorship model is a proven success. One-hundred percent of its students have been accepted and enrolled in a four-year college or university over the last 23 years.

“I think it’s the success,” Miller said. “It’s really an intense program, so it takes students that are motivated.”

But the biggest achievement can’t be measured through acceptance letters. The real success is in allowing students to dream big and beyond a high school diploma.

In addition to the weekend sessions, students also get the opportunity to go to summer education programs at colleges around the country.

The Twin Cities chapter is relatively new, with just 2 years under its belt.

Fundraisers and donations are a part of the program’s success. Click here for more information on the program, and how you can help.

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