DALLAS — Jennifer Escobar grew up in West Dallas on the corner of Chihuahua Avenue and Dennison Street. She says it's a neighborhood filled with immigrant and minority families.
"This is where my childhood memories are," Escobar said.
Education was not a priority as she grew up. The focus was on survival and putting food on the table. She said there were many rough areas in her neighborhood filled with violence and crime.
Escobar wanted more, but had no guidance. It took her years to figure it out and at 25 years old, she finally received her bachelor's degree. That same year, her daughter, Bianca, was born.
She didn't want her children to have the same struggles. As she put Bianca through school, she found help through a program called Education Opens Doors.
Education Opens Doors is a program taught at some Dallas schools. There's a book that helps students prepare for life after high school. Bianca's teachers have walked her through every chapter since 6th grade, setting aside time to discuss the possibility of college.
Jashida Rather is a Dallas ISD teacher at D.A. Hulcy Steam Middle School.
"If they are never exposed to it, they will never do it," Rather said. She loves teaching Education Opens Doors because it makes every step of education intentional. It helps her students, who didn't believe they could go to college, step into their fears.
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Rather remembers Bianca in 6th grade. She has no doubt Bianca will go to a great university when the time comes.
Bianca is now a sophomore at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. She dreams of going to Yale, Julliard or UCLA, and she said Education Opens Doors is helping her plan.
"It allows us to have sit-down time so we can talk about what I'm going to do after high school and what college I'm going to go to and financial planning."
She says the program is dedicated to student success regardless of economic background. Bianca hopes all children will have access to Education Opens Doors.