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Upward Bound participants at CMU

College dream machine grows

CMU extends, expands programs to equip Detroit high schoolers for higher ed success

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

​New grants are extending and expanding Central Michigan University-backed programs that prepare Detroiters for college.

"We recently received notice from the U.S. Department of Education that we were re-funded for our current Upward Bound program and received new funding for an additional UB program in Detroit," said Primavera Jimenez, who directs the programs under an umbrella called TRIO Detroit.

Since 1999, Upward Bound at Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School at Northwestern has helped students from select Detroit high schools get excited about college.

“We made so many trips to CMU that it felt like home. That’s why I decided to come here.” — Tatiana King, CMU sophomore from Detroit

The new Upward Bound program, established this year, covers two southwest Detroit schools: Western International High School and Voyageur College Prep High.

Another TRIO program, Educational Talent Search, was funded last year to serve 500 students in grades 6-12 at select high and middle schools in Southwest Detroit.

The U.S. Department of Education funds all three programs, and CMU receives the money. It totals about $1 million a year, and the grants are in five-year cycles.

"With this year's awards, CMU has received more than $3 million to support TRIO precollege programs," Jimenez said. "These grants are very competitive, so the accomplishments are worth noting."

Making connections

CMU sophomore Tatiana King isn't sure where she'd be today if she hadn't met Jimenez through Upward Bound.

mug-Toned_King.jpegKing, who studies sociology, is quick to admit she wouldn't be at Central. She said she'd likely be at a smaller college, deep in debt.

But instead, Jimenez and Upward Bound gave King the encouragement and information she needed to push forward.

"We made so many group trips to CMU that it felt like home," King said of Upward Bound participants. "That's why I decided to come here."

At least 90 percent of Upward Bound participants go on to college, Jimenez said, and some have gotten full rides.

Upward Bound Detroit visits classrooms to sign up participants, who then receive tutoring, advising, test preparation, counseling, cultural and social enrichment, and a six-week summer program that includes three weeks living on CMU's campus. The program serves about 63 kids a year.

Educational Talent Search in Detroit introduces youngsters to academic achievement, career exploration and financial literacy.

Jimenez says working with students is her favorite part of the job: "seeing them realize that they can go to school, seeing them be successful, seeing that they can accomplish their dreams."

"Upward Bound is a great program," King said. "It helped me a lot."

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