The Advancers of Denver: Lesley Del Rio

Why did you choose AdvanceEDU?

The opportunity to be a part of AdvanceEDU came to me in the best way and time. A person who I trust, and I know and has a good intentions for me, paved the way for me to join the AdvanceEDU family. AdvanceEDU is a place I can showcase all of my strengths and earn credits for my degree while doing so.

What is your degree pathway?

My degree pathway is earning an associate’s degree of General Studies – with a focus on Business.

Are you currently working? If so, where?

I currently work for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. I am the Program Manager for the PACE Program.

What was the most challenging thing about your HS (or previous college) experience, and what differences are you hoping to see at AdvanceEDU?

The most challenging thing that I experienced when attending another college was balancing my life as a single mom, prioritizing my family’s well-being and health as well as a full-time job and gaining real work experience. Attending night classes left me feeling disengaged and not a part of the learning community. Also, not to mention childcare struggles.

What do you think is your greatest struggle in completing your degree and launching a successful career?

Managing my time has always been a struggle for me. I feel as though being a single mom, it is a challenge to prioritize schoolwork after a full day of work (plus more community/contract work).

What scares you about your college and career journey?

Something that scares me about college is that my hard work and efforts will be in vain and I will not see the benefit of my degree. Success means a lot of different things to people. But to me, it means stability, it means security, and it means a healthy life for myself and generations to come.

What is your favorite part about your experience with AdvanceEDU?

My favorite part about my experience with AdvanceEDU is Holly [my coach]! Holly and I have built a trusting coach-student relationship that I treasure! She is always so motivating and encourages me in many ways!

How does your experience compare to others in your family who have pursued a degree?

No one in my family has pursued higher education. It has not been something that we discuss as a viable option for success.

Who is your support system aside from your Success Coach/AdvanceEDU? What does that relationship look like?

My support buddy is my son Leo. He is a very good study buddy that has accompanied me to various coffee shops, libraries and parks to meet with my coach and to study.

How is your relationship with your Success Coach? Have they impacted your life in any way? How?

Holly has made a huge positive impact in my life. From her continued help and encouragement to her willingness and openness to talk about mental health, Covid issues and financial obstacles, I have found mentor in Holly.

Do you have professional role models and mentors? If so, who are they? If not, why not?

Yes, Holly!

Has your experience with AdvanceEDU prompted you to revisit any assumptions you may have had about what’s possible for you? If so, what

Many! I often feel like I am the only working student parent and that I am working through a system not made for my lifestyle and me. AdvanceEDU, along with other organizations working to elevate student parent voices and experiences, have helped me envision a successful future for my son and I that is obtainable and affordable. I truly feel like I am advancing in my life.