by Christian Bergren-Aragon
Erma Bombeck once said, “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another.” Thomas van Straaten, an avid volunteer, is one of those unselfish people who seem to better our world everyday with his love, patience, and compassion. Straaten is a newly named mentor to eighth grade students at Basalt Middle School. He has paired with the Pre-Collegiate Program (PCP) to educate, train, and prepare students for college and post-academic life.
The Pre-Collegiate Program’s main goal is to develop relationships, promote healthy decisions, and ultimately guide students down the collegiate path. “100% of the kids enrolled in the program, past and present, have gone to college, including two young ladies that were pregnant,” Pre-Collegiate Director Adriana Ayala-Hire said. The PCP has thrived in this valley for more than three years and is offered to students whose parents have either not attended college or did not complete college.