Lynchburg, VA- A local organization is on a mission to guarantee every single student has the means and opportunity to go to college or receive a secondary education.
A year after it was created, the Lynchburg Beacon of Hope is now an official a nonprofit partner with Lynchburg City Schools. They have a new place for students to get the resources they need to plan their futures.
It's a place for questions and information. But more important, it's a place for students to start charting their dreams.
"I want to work in the medical field. I think the whole thing of saving lives is something beautiful," said Xavier Pannell, a senior at E.C. Glass High School.
The new place is called the "Future Center," and it's one of the Beacon's first initiatives to give more students a shot at getting an education beyond high school. Right now, about 57% of Lynchburg City high-schoolers kids do that.
"While that is slightly above the national average it's lower than what we need in this community. And, many of those students didn't have a plan," said Laura Hamilton, executive director at Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.
That's where Future Centers come in.
"There is a difference in saying, 'I want to go to college' and actually doing the things it takes to actually get to college. That's what the future center director position is for. We say, 'This is great. This is what you want to do. This is your plan, and here is how you pursue that plan,'" said Maggie Davis, center director at Heritage High School.
Students can get everything from information on SAT's to financial aid help. Leaders say the support won't stop when they graduate high school.
"They can come back to the future center during their holidays or breaks to gain more support to make sure they feel supported in graduating from college," said Davis.
These "Future Centers" will also be open after school hours as well. They will open officially next week.