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Organization offers free college preparation to community

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Alana Zamora (left), public relations senior, helps Bruce and Claire Barnes apply for college Nov. 4 at the San Marcos Public Library. The library and Texas State University have teamed up to offer free college preparation and mentoring.
Photo by Victor Rodriguez | Assistant Multimedia Editor

The San Marcos Public Library has partnered with Texas State to deliver a free community program to help anyone seeking to pursue a degree in higher education or to find a job.

The Collegiate G-Force Organization provides one-on-one assistance through trained mentors. Mentors are equipped to help with resume creation and critique, ACT and SAT registration, as well as applications for college, financial aid and scholarships.

Alana Zamora, public relations senior and G-Force mentor, said she enjoys helping first-generation students from San Marcos High School as a way of giving back to her community.

“It turns out that a lot of students in San Marcos High School, a lot of them are first-generation students,” Zamora said. “To me, as a first-generation student myself, that’s an important thing for me—to empower others to realize their full potential and what they can do. So for me being able to help those students, and then for them to tell me thank you, you know, I was able to be that role model that they may not necessarily have at home. So, for me, that was really rewarding.”

The Collegiate G-Force Organization is a mentoring program funded by a state grant. It allows college students to apply for the work-study position through the university’s Center for P-16 Initiatives. If students show a financial need, they may be hired and allowed to earn a portion of their educational expenses through the program.

Diane Insley, director of the San Marcos Public Library, said the primary purpose of the program is to serve community members.

“At the library, we try to fill the holes of services around San Marcos,” Insley said. “We try to determine the needs of the community and provide some answers.”

According to Insley, though the program is managed by Texas State, mentors will help students who want to attend Austin Community College, a trade school or any other university.

Insley, partnered with the Center for P-16 Initiatives director, Michelle Hamilton, and grant manager, Elizabeth Castaneda, to establish the San Marcos Public Library as one of five G-Force Go Center locations.

Go Center are locations designed to create a college-going culture by equipping individuals with resources to attain a higher education.

The workshops are held on weekends because the two-step FAFSA process requires one portion be filled out by students and the other by parents. The weekend hours allow students and parents to fill out the forms together with a mentor available to answer any questions.

G-Force mentors are available at the San Marcos Public Library Sundays from 1-6 p.m. during the San Marcos CISD school year. For a list of G-Force Go Center locations or more information about getting involved in the program, visit the Center for P-16 Initiatives website.

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