Kellogg Community College’s Upward Bound program for low-income/first-generation high school students is the recipient of a $25,000 Aspire contribution from AT&T.
Ruth Gaudard, area manager of External Affairs at AT&T, presented Upward Bound Director Grindl Williams with the contribution last week. She said funds from AT&T’s Aspire program — a corporate educational initiative that has invested more than $100 million into communities since 2008 — are awarded to qualifying organizations that are making a difference helping high school students to recognize their potential.
“Aspire is committed to helping programs and projects that deal with high school success – on-time grade promotion, on-time graduation, improving the graduation rate, college readiness and workforce readiness,” Gaudard said. “Making sure that kids complete high school and that they come out ready to continue their education or to enter the workforce.”
Gaudard, who said the program has contributed funds to Upward Bound programs in other communities in the past, said too many kids give up in high school and don’t finish, and the Aspire funds are meant to help combat that issue.
“Upward Bound is a program that makes an impact; it is successful, and that’s what we’re looking for,” she said. “Programs that make a difference.”
Williams said she was excited to accept the contribution.
“We’ve been wanting to focus on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — but this year with a decrease in funding for all TRIO programs, it’s been hard,” Williams said. “This contribution means a whole lot.”
The Upward Bound program is an academic pre-college initiative designed to prepare low-income/first-generation high school students for success in higher education and is one of eight TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The KCC program serves 80 high school students from Battle Creek Central High School.