Big Brothers Big Sisters and 1000 Dreams Fund raise money for college visits

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Finding the perfect college can take time and money.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City teamed up with the 1000 Dreams Fund, a scholarship fund to help young women in need.

For 17-year-old Lyric Akis, she has dreams of one day becoming a professional model.

"I feel like I'm made for the camera," Akis said. "I've always wanted to be a model."

A junior at Ruskin High School, Akis has her eyes set on New York for college.

"I need experience," she said. "And in New York, I know that's really what it's known for so, it's popular out there. So I'm going to try and do it."

Big Brothers Big Sisters along with the 1000 Dreams Fund want to help her get there.

"They can cost about one to $3,000 to just visit colleges so a lot of families cannot do that," 1000 Dreams Fund Founder Christie Garton said. "It's an important thing to be able to visit a potential school you're considering. Ultimately, 30 percent of freshmen dropout their first year. It's often because they did not pick the right home for themselves, so college visits are important."

Akis is one of five young women selected to be part of Girls on the Rise, a campaign that's a collaboration of BBBS and the 1000 Dreams Fund.

"We launched last year and part of our model is to partner with other nonprofits that are working with teens in different ways," Garton said.  "So here in Kansas City, I got to know the Big Brothers Big Sisters team and we just felt like wow this could be an interesting opportunity to combine our model of funding girls of particular needs and supporting potentially some of their young women. 

Akis has been part of Big Brothers Big Sisters since she was 11 and was excited knowing she was selected as a scholarship recipient for this campaign.

"It's helping me because I used to think I was unlucky because everything in our family, I feel like we was just unlucky," Akis said. "Everything always bad happens to our family and then something like this came up and I was like what?! I was just shocked, like that's crazy."

"It shows her that people do care," Akis's grandmother Barbara Henderson said. "It shows her that there are people in the world that still want to help." 

Henderson said she couldn't be more proud of her granddaughter.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, a fundraiser will be held at the Eileen Fisheer store at the Country Club Plaza. Ten percent of what people purchase goes toward raising money for those college visits.

For more information about donating for the Girls on the Rise campaign, click here.

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Rae Daniel can be reached at Rae.Daniel@KSHB.com.

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