GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The N.E.W. Scholars is an after-school college readiness program offered by CollegeReady that empowers over 200 Green Bay students with resources, support, and tools so that they can be the first in their families to go to college.

“Typically, we start students in 6th grade,” explained Ryan Watling, New Scholars Middle School Coordinator. “They continue every year, all the way until they graduate from high school. They can go to whatever college they want to. Whatever career they want to study. It’s a 7-year commitment. A marathon.”

As part of the program, students are asked to volunteer. Eddison Middle School student Luis Raya has dedicated his time to issues he cares about, including food access, environmental sustainability, and promoting understanding through English/Spanish translation services.

“I want to be the first in my family to graduate,” Luis told Local 5 News. “So I joined and have a friend who is also in the program. We’ve been friends for a year now, and I like the volunteering and learning about the colleges.”

A multitude of local organizations have benefited from Luis’ volunteer service. For example, he has assisted with trash pickup and greeting guests at the Downtown Green Bay Farmer’s Market, participated in a neighborhood cleanup project, and provided translation and other services to parents and families at a workshop for N.E.W. Scholars.

Luis received the WPS Volunteer Youth Award. As his nominator said, “Luis is developing into a leader that quietly but profoundly influences his classmates by challenging them to be the best versions of themselves.”

He is setting an example for young people that volunteering teaches valuable skills and plants seeds that will continue to grow and impact our community for years. Now that’s positively Wisconsin!

More information about the N.E.W. Scholars program and CollegeReady can be found here.