A program tasked with closing achievement gaps in South Seattle and King County is making an impact with local high schoolers and their families.
The Dream Project pairs UW undergraduates with low-income and first-generation high schoolers to help with college applications, finding scholarships and even picking out dorm rooms.
Abdirahman Omar goes by "Omar" and is just starting his freshman year at the University of Washington. His family immigrated from Uganda a few years ago to escape violence and says he would not have had the opportunity to go to college without the Dream Project.
"Honestly I don't think I would have," says Omar. "I was a good student, I had all of my grades set for me, I knew I needed to go to college but I didn't know exactly what college was good for me and how to apply and all the stuff."
Omar received help from his mentor Katy Jach, who is a UW senior studying education. She's now mentored at least four students but can easily stay in contact with Omar since they're on the same campus.
"It's also been really exciting seeing him grow in the past year," says Jach. "From not really knowing what he wanted to do in college, not knowing where he wanted to go to college to see him here now walking here on the UW campus."
The Dream Project is one of many projects that falls under the Road Map Project, a community-wide effort to improve student achievement. The goal is to double the number of students on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020.