When Charles Hillman received an acceptance letter to his No. 1 college pick, the first place he went to share the exciting news is the Downtown Clubhouse. It’s been his home away from home since he was 10, the place where he has played guitar, sung in a choir and performed in a talent show.
“I knew in high school that college was really what I wanted to do but I was really worried about how I could get there,” said Charles, who is now 18 and a senior at Santa Cruz High School. “That dream has become a reality, which is the best feeling.”
Charles will be the first person in his immediate family to go to college and received an academic scholarship. He credits the staff at Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County with helping him put together his application to Washington State University, where he will attend in the fall.
“I was really stressed out and confused, but April Ochoa, the leader of the Teen Room, sat down with me and plunked through all of it,” Charles said, remembering April’s reaction when he got the acceptance letter April 12. “She was nearly in tears.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County offers tutoring and homework help during its after-school programs. Read more about the programs here.