If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, the Robinson Scholars Program is the threshold through which that step is taken for many eastern Kentucky youth.
We teach our children that they can be anything, accomplish anything with hard work and determination. As early as grade school, they enthusiastically plan careers as doctors and lawyers, musicians and artists.
Then, the obstacles begin to arise. Socioeconomic, cultural, and institutional barriers that seem too large to overcome. Families who have high hopes but few resources. The reality of the high cost of education. And fear—of leaving a familiar small town, of navigating life on a large campus alone, even fear of failure.
The Robinson Scholars Program mission is to provide first generation college–bound students from 29 eastern Kentucky counties with support services and scholarship resources that empower them to complete a baccalaureate degree at the University of Kentucky and thereby increase the educational capital of their communities. And, to help them navigate potential obstacles to success, the program identifies Scholars at an early age—eighth grade. This approach recognizes the importance of personal contact with students. They receive academic support, social mentoring, and college preparation. Once at the university, the support and guidance from the program continues. It helps the students take that all–important first step, and gives them needed supplies for the journey.