TOLEDO, Ohio — College is expensive and the costs continue to rise.
One local organization is working to make sure students who want a higher education can get one.
"HOPE Toledo is doing what we set out to do from the beginning and that is to bring hope," said HOPE Toledo president, John C. Jones.
Shock, hope and a million other emotions were felt just last year when the 2020 graduating class at Scott High School were told they could continue their education at no cost to them.
In large part, thanks to HOPE Toledo.
"I don't even think I'd be right here in this spot if it hadn't been for HOPE Toledo."
Mario Purifie Jr. is one of the first HOPE Toledo scholars and is in his second year at Wright State University.
He says this opportunity has been life-changing.
"I'm a first-generation college student. So I didn't have many members of my family I could speak with going into this. HOPE Toledo has been a huge support system by my side," Purifie said.
The work the organization is doing is getting recognized in ways Jones always imagined.
It recently received $300,000 to continue the mission of opening doors for area high school seniors and one of their parents.
"We're going to be able to hire a community and family navigator and because we're a two-generational approach," Jones said. "We're not only going to work with that student but we're going to work with that parent as well."
He says the grant funding gives validation to the work of HOPE Toledo.
"To see a family receive this opportunity wasn't expecting it, to see it delivered to them is, in and of itself, a life-changing experience," he explained.
But for Jones, this grant funding is just the start.
Since their very first announcement, they've been able to provide opportunities for more than 150 students in our area and the goal is to continue to grow that number.
More on the grant funding and HOPE Toledo can be found here.