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Austin nonprofit helps first-generation college dreams come true

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – For many students, going to college is just a dream, but a local nonprofit is working hard to make those dreams come true.

Breakthrough Central Texas strives to help create a path to and through college for the students who will become the first in their families to graduate from college.

“Can I do it?” Stevie Martinez-Farias said, recalling how she thought about college in grade six. “The odds are stacked against me. “

Martinez-Farias set a goal at college to be the first graduate in her family.

“My parents came to the United States and they worked really hard and pushed to give me and my younger brother the future that we deserve,” Martinez-Farias said.

She wanted to make sure that her parents’ sacrifice for a better life was not in vain.

“Being a freshman is a source of extreme pride,” said Michael Griffith, executive director of Breakthrough Central Texas. “We currently serve over 2,300 students. “

The organization offers advice, guidance and financial assistance to ensure that there are no barriers holding students back.

“They were able to be the supporters of my corner,” said Martinez-Farias.

She set her goal years ago, and in the spring of 2021, she graduated from Bennington College in Vermont. She says her favorite memory of the whole process was walking across the stage with her diploma in hand.

“I look in the crowd and I could see my parents and you could see my mom crying, my dad crying,” she said. “I get emotional thinking about it because I did it for them.”

With a degree in Anthropology and Latin American Studies, she plans to start working with Breakthrough Central Texas to help other kids who also dream of getting a college degree.

Last year, Breakthrough Central Texas helped 200 students graduate.


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