Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Daniel Heffner
Lynchburg, VA- A new group in Lynchburg is working to break down the barriers that often prevent students from going to college.
The program, The Beacon of Hope, is modeled after a national program called Promise Net that gives kids resources to get into to college and graduate.
"Hopefully it will change the culture of our school system from that of K-12 to K-16," said Robert Wade, chairperson for The Beacon of Hope.
Wade says the program has a three-pronged approach to helping kids get higher education. First they help tackle the issue of cost.
"We're hoping through scholarships to help students overcome some obstacles to getting into school," said Wade.
Beacon of Hope also wants to start a community supported scholarship to help with other college expenses.
In each Lynchburg City High School, Beacon of Hope will set up "Future Centers" where kids can learn how to apply for college and learn which colleges are out there. There will also be an adviser on hand to help.
Director of Student Services Gloria Preston says the adviser would help with confusing college applications and financial aid forms.
"Ultimately what they want to do is hire people who will be in the high schools who can give the kind of support to students who are interested in going to school," said Preston.
Beacon of Hope will also pair kids with mentors through college to make sure they finish. The idea is a tall order but say there could be a huge payoff.
"Hopefully in 10 years it will transform the outlook of our city," said Wade.
Communities who use this program have lower drop out rates, increased enrollment, and see big changes in their economy.
You can learn more about this program at a community dialogue meeting on Thursday 6 p.m. at E.C Glass High School.
Learn more about PromiseNet Programs.