TRIO & Me, Obinna Onyeali, DSF College Advisor at Montbello 

I am grateful for what TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) did for me in my undergraduate years at the University of Colorado Boulder (GO BUFFS!). My TRIO SSS program called Summer Ready helped to cultivate the light in me that I never believed could really shine. I was always a dedicated young man, but I needed guidance to ensure that I was taking the right courses to reach my goals. I also needed a guide to instill a level of accountability for my educational and career goals despite systematic barriers that I faced.

The lifelong relationships I built, personally and professionally, helped to guide me on the path that was meant for me. The Summer Ready program challenged me when I felt like giving up. Who would have thought the incredible individuals I met would foster my passions, became my biggest cheerleader (for even the smallest yet most impactful moments), and inspire spiritual exuberance, all while assisting me in creating my personal narrative?

Now in my current role at Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) as a College Advisor, I am able to reflect on those experiences and use the knowledge I gained from the TRIO SSS Program each day when working with my students. Working closely with students reminds me about the light I never knew was so bright, is also in many of the students I support.

It is important to acknowledge the parents, siblings, and multitude of other extended family members that are in the stands rooting for our students. I enjoy being that extra hype type of motivation that supports students. It is an exhilarating experience! I reach into my tool kit to share and educate about the essential skills required to navigate the ever-changing world.

TRIO and Denver’s Community

One important piece to most TRIO programs is the versatility intertwined within its foundation. TRIO Talent Search (TS) is such program, with a multitude of academic and cultural opportunities for students.

At the heart of TRIO TS’s mission is to ensure that students have a realistic opportunity to persist in life and college and then to graduate with an associate degree, certificate or bachelor’s degree. Though there are programs to choose from their core across the board is to educate about financial literacy, college and career access and over wellness in the everyday world.

In the Montbello community and across the city DSF has partnered with the Denver Public Schools to be that support network for the community. As an DSF College Advisor I work with the TRIOTS program and directly with students as they reimagine what their journey towards college and many other life opportunities.

TRIO is a Change Agent

I believe that TRIO has the power to deeply engage and inspire. TRIO has shown that it has a true commitment to the dream of education for all students regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstances. TRIO has shown time and time again that it works.


TRIO refers to a number (originally three, now eight) of U.S. federal programs to increase access to higher education for first-generation students from communities with low-income. This means that, TRIO programs provide spaces for students’ form varied underserved communities to gain access to the educational and societal systems that were not inherently meant for them to succeed.

To learn more about the Denver Scholarship Foundation TRIO program, CLICK HERE.