Simply put, the whole process rocks the nerves, particularly for a first generation college student.
"I felt like it was up to me to get the resources out there and spread the knowledge that I had to help people," Alex Tostado, a 2010 9Kids Who Care winner, said.
Low income and first generation students can thank Alex for helping make their dreams of attending college a bit more obtainable. Alex co-chairs the Sharing Achievement for Student Success in Education program, or SASSE. The program focuses on, but is not limited to, assisting low-income and minority students with the resources and support they need to be successful in getting accepted into college.
"A lot of minority students hear 'You can't' from the start," Alex said. "They hear as a low income student, 'No way are your parents going to be able to afford college. No way are you going to.' Even, 'No way are you going to get the grades to get there.'"
As part of SASSE, Alex organizes a college and resource fair in Boulder County. More than 200 parents and students attended the first fair, which pointed attendees to resources such as FAFSA, scholarships and fellowships.
The success of the fair was the result of a lot of hard work. Along with another 2010 9Kid Who Cares, Marilyn Villalobos, Alex wrote grants for financial assistance, handed out fliers, wrote an article for the newspaper, spoke with counselors, presented on the topic of volunteerism and distributed more than $5,000 in donated scholarships and giveaways.
Recently, Alex began speaking in front of classrooms throughout Boulder County to encourage his peers to volunteer for SASSE and help other peers find the confidence they need to get into college.
"I can't pick out individuals stories and know that it's helping, but I know that I helped out," said Alex.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)