Parish Peaks knew his past debt with City Colleges would be wiped clean when he signed up for the Fresh Start program. What he didn’t realize was how the financial empowerment workshops would help him get his finances organized and even helped him raise his credit score.

Parish, who is from the City’s South Side, headed to the University of Missouri after he graduated from Simeon Career Academy. Tuition at a four-year university was too challenging, so he returned to Chicago and started classes at Harold Washington College. His financial situation was still a challenge, and he left in order to save enough to go back and finish his associate degree.

In the summer of 2020, Parish heard about the Fresh Start Program and knew it was the perfect opportunity for him to return to the (virtual) classroom. He re-enrolled at Harold Washington College in the fall of 2020 and, by May of 2021, he had earned his Associate Degree in General Studies. His journey was further supported by a Chancellor’s Retention Grant, which provided the additional resources he needed to complete his degree.

Interested in pursuing his passion for graphic design and animation, Parish is working to transfer to a four-year university this fall.

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