About Project Link
Our Mission: Project Link’s mission is to create a college-going culture by linking Waco students to post-secondary education and advanced workforce opportunities. We are devoted to challenging and supporting students to reach their full potential by advocating success through personal discovery, academic growth, and community involvement.
Our Vision: Our vision is to promote a culture of students who desire to graduate from high school and pursue college or workforce opportunities, preparing them to become effective contributors to society.
Project Link is a local program that started in Fall 2015 to help Waco-area high school students, currently at La Vega, University, and Waco high schools, and their families in charting a more assured and successful post-secondary journey through intense one-on-one college, career, and financial advising. The goal of the program is to ensure that more students have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with professionals who are focused exclusively on the process of supporting them through high school and ensuring a seamless transition to college, where they will receive continued support until completion of their college degree.
The work to form Project Link began two years ago with Tom Stanton, Executive Director of The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation and more than 30 individuals (including counselors, administrators, superintendents, and college presidents). The initiative they began crafting was to enhance college and career advising for Waco-area high school students through a proposal that would increase the number of advisors available to students at both the high school and college level.
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation Board approved the grant proposal for Project Link in the amount of $1,020,000 awarding it to Prosper Waco as part of their collective impact efforts. The board of Prosper Waco accepted the important role for Project Link.
Collective impact requires diverse organizations to work collaboratively to solve big-picture challenges like increasing the rate of post-secondary success for Waco-area students. It also requires a backbone organization like Prosper Waco to help coordinate activities, track outcomes, and communicate progress. As the Project Link grantee, Prosper Waco helps to meet the Rapoport Foundation Board’s requirements for measurement and accountability across the multiple organizations involved in the grant, and by providing oversight of the project’s implementation, data tracking, outcomes and reporting to the Rapoport Foundation.
All grant funds were passed to TSTC, the grant’s fiscal agent, to support grant activities at University High School, La Vega High School, Waco High School, McLennan Community College (MCC) and Texas State Technical College-Waco (TSTC).\
More about Project Link & how it works
- Prosper Waco passed 100 percent of grant funds to TSTC, the grant’s fiscal agent. Prosper Waco accepted responsibility for grant oversight and the tracking and reporting of outcomes.
- One Project Link Coordinator was employed to manage grant operations on a day-to-day basis.
- University High School employ two Liaisons, while La Vega High School and Waco High School employ one Liaison to work with students in ninth (9) through twelfth (12) grade to prepare for college.
- MCC and TSTC employed an Outreach Specialist, who will coordinate with the high school Liaisons to ensure a smooth transition and continued support for Project Link students at the college level.
- Students whose grade-point average ranks in the middle 60 percent of each grade level were chosen to participate in Project Link with a goal of keeping them from getting lost in the transition from high school to college.
- Each Liaison is assigned to 250 students whom they meet within group sessions and one-on-one advising, mentoring, coaching style meetings.
- The high school Liaisons help students with college aspirations, academic planning for college and career readiness, enrichment and extracurricular engagement, college and career exploration and selection process, college and career assessments, college affordability planning and financial literacy, college and career application processes, and transitioning from high school to college.
- The College Outreach Specialist combine college exposure and awareness, one-on-one mentoring and advising, life coaching, and other services to help students develop the needed academic competencies, life skills, and strategies for setting and attaining their personal goals like earning their college degree, landing the job of your dreams, and achieving lifelong success. Services include career advising, educational planning, college transitioning, transfer requirements, financial aid and literacy assistance, scholarship information, stress management, time management, organization skills, study skills, tutoring, community and campus resources, student leadership opportunities and more.
Meet the Team!
Project Link Coordinator, McLennan Community College
Project Link Outreach Specialist, Texas State Technical College
Project Link Liaison, La Vega High School
Project Link Liaison, University High School
Project Link Liaison, University High School
Project Link Liaison, Waco High School