Pa. university's program aims to send urban poor to college

Monday, October 21, 2013

Helping kids from one of the nation’s poorest cities make it to college is the goal of a new $10 million program that organizers hope will become a national model for fighting urban poverty.

Alvernia University in Reading, Pa., is partnering with the city’s Olivet Boys & Girls Club on a program that aims to help hundreds of high school students get ready for college through an intensive four-year program of tutoring, mentoring and other activities. Additionally, as many as 20 students a year will get full scholarships to attend Alvernia, where they’ll receive additional tutoring and mentoring.

A college education is one way to break the “generational cycle of poverty” that grips Reading and other cities, said Thomas F. Flynn, president of the small Catholic university.

“This is an enormously ambitious undertaking, and we recognize that,” he said. “But we believe the potential to change lives is very great.”

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