Helping first-generation college students take steps toward college success was the focus of the Be A Leader Foundation‘s eighth annual college resource fair at Civic Space Park.

“We try to connect students with as many resources as possible so they can build their leadership capacity,” said Soilo Felix, vice president of College Going initiatives and a first generation graduate. “They can build their college access capacity and ultimately be successful at the collegiate level and earn a bachelor’s degree.”

Felix also notes the long-term economical effects of providing high school students with access and resources to higher education.

By 2030, 60 percent of jobs in the economy will require a college education, Felix said. According to Felix, if access to college educations and programs that foster success in college are not present the city will falter economically and extra generated revenue for social services will not be produced.

High school students from across the Valley are encouraged to come to the resource fair. Groups from ASU Prep, Cesar Chavez High School and Chandler High School were present at the event.

The college resource fair provides high school students with various opportunities to take the first steps toward a college education. More than 50 organizations represented at the event included scholarship and grant organizations, local community colleges and universities, and community-based organizations. Each presented students with the opportunity to grow their background in leadership and build their resume.

Michelle Ardnt informed students of the scholarship opportunities with The Arizona Community Foundation that offers over 100 scholarships.

The Arizona Community Foundation has participated in the Be A Leader Foundation college resource fair for 5 to 6 years, according to Ardnt. The ACF gives away more money in scholarships than any other private business in Arizona, Ardnt said.

As well as booths that provide students with information of higher education opportunities, 30-minute presentations are held. Presentations such as “Preparing Your Student for College” allow students to further their knowledge of how to navigate the world of secondary education.

The “Taking Steps Towards College Success” college resource fair is held simultaneously with the National Association for College Counseling College Fair. At the conclusion of the resource fair, participants walk as a community to the college fair at Phoenix Convention Center.

Rosaura Alvarez has volunteered at the resources fair for three years. She praises the event not only for the foundation for making college information easily accessible to potential students but also its other community outreach programs. Similarly, Be A Leader Foundation has an network of clubs that performs the same function of  college resourcing.

According to Felix, Be A Leader Foundation has serves about 36,000 high school students annually through their outreach programs.

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