My name is Yachira Torres. I was born in Rio Piedras, PR and moved to Worcester, MA when I was 4. I did not know English, lived in a low income neighborhood, and in a single parent home. School had always been a passion of mine and I knew from the beginning that I was going to college. How I was going to get there was a little more complicated to understand. In middle school, I became a part of the GEAR UP program where I learned about many resources available to me look for colleges and financial assistance to attend. I learned about the application process, financial aid paperwork, what exams to take for entry, and even visited some schools I was interested in. GEAR UP played an especially important role during my high school career. Advisors were always available to answer questions about applications and financial aid forms. My mother’s English is not the best, so it was especially important for me to fill out the forms properly since I was writing them on my own. GEAR UP continued to provide support and assistance even after I graduated. In college, I received the GEAR UP scholarship from the state of Massachusetts. This scholarship lifts a huge burden from the financial strains of attending an expensive, private college. I am still in contact with many of my advisors and they often ask me to speak about my success in the program and beyond it. It is the least I can do for all the help they have provided me.