BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — When families do not have a lot of extra cash laying around, education resources for their teens might not be a high priority. A nonprofit in Baton Rouge is giving hundreds of kids a chance to reach their full potential by providing free services.

“We’re kind of helping build stronger studiers, learners, more robust humans,” said Allie Diefendorf, the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition’s (BRYC) Chief of Programs. “It’s kind of exciting.”

The organization helps with ACT preparation, college applications, provides mentors and much more. The nonprofit is funded through a series of grants and donations, and under-resourced families reap the benefits.

“Households making less $65,000 or less can apply, but there are all kinds of exceptions for people making more,” Diefendorf said.

Diefendorf started as a part-time worker around five years ago, but she decided to stick around, because she believed in the mission. The organization now services hundreds of kids, and there will be at least a few locations in the near future.

“I could talk to you forever about BRYC,” Diefendorf said.

Applications for the new round of BRYC “fellows” will open in January, and students often start late in their middle school years and continue to benefit through college and after. Noa Guerin is a senior at Baton Rouge High, and they’ve been using BRYC since ninth grade.

“Anyone asks me what I’m doing on Wednesday nights, I say I’m going downtown for college stuff,” Guerin said. “That’s what I say verbatim—college stuff.”

Guerin said they got help with college and scholarship applications. They were awarded a large scholarship at a university on the East coast and will pursue a career in landscape architecture.

“I’m taking an eco-friendly approach to development,” Guerin said.

The free resources, including free ACTs, helped Guerin get to this position.

“It’s been a huge, huge help for my mother,” Guerin said.

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