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Group Helps Give Students Of Color "A Better Chance"

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The latest New Yorkers of the Week run a group that has been helping students of color prepare for their educational futures for over 40 years. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Brooklyn native Judy Chambers is helping shape some of the city's next generation of black leaders.

Chambers, vice president of a pension consulting firm, credits her own success in part to the non-profit organization A Better Chance, which she says opened the door of opportunity.

"It taught me how to become responsible, how to be mature, how to take care of myself, how to think on my feet, and how to be analytical," said Chambers.

Started in 1964, A Better Chance recruits and places students of color in high ranking college preparatory schools and colleges. The organization does not provide scholarships, but instead helps motivated young people network with schools, giving them educational and career advice, and even helping them build resumes and apply for financial aid.

"To get talented students, provide them with a great opportunity and make them realize their full potential is really important for our society and which provides diverse leaders,” said A Better Chance President Sandra Timmons.

Chambers, who entered the program when she was only 13, is one of about 11,000 students who have taken part in the program over the years. She says alumni create the support system that helps make A Better Chance a success.

Now she is part of that support system, volunteering about 20 hours a week to make sure the students get the same chances she had.

"When you see the satisfaction that comes from a student that comes back to you and says, Îhey I got this fantastic job, thank you so much for helping me prepare for it,’ that's all you need to hear,” said Chambers. “It’s self satisfying."

Bronx-born Gregory Robinson credits A Better Chance with helping him make it to Cornell University and land a job at Morgan Stanley. Now an alum and mentor of the program, he's also on a mission to give back.

"We stand on the backs of great people, there are lot of freedom fighters, civil rights leaders who fought to get us into the places where we are,” said Robinson. “So, we have the obligation to make sure that whenever we have the opportunity to give back, we do."

"I want to find that next girl from the South Central Los Angeles, I want to find that next boy from the South Bronx," said Sheila Marmon, another program alum. "I want to find that next kid from the Southside of Chicago and give them the resources to realize their full potential."

So for giving students of color the chance to make it to the top of the educational and career ladder, the people behind A Better Chance are the New Yorkers of the Week.

-Produced by Robbie Sosa

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