Federal TRIO programs began as a results of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
The Texas TRIO Association’smission is to guide and support students in high school and college to reach their full potential; low-income students, first-generation college students, and disabled students, among others, enrolled in post-secondary education programs to finish successfully..
It’s run by one man: Del Mar College's TRIO Student Support Service Project Director Valton Stinson.
Stinson started his journey at Texas A&M University-Kingsville as a football player.
While attending the university, he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, and his master's degree in psychology.
Stinson said the responsibility of being the group's president is exciting to him because he is able to guide students through college, and into their career path.
“I tell kids — I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to play a small part in your life," he said. "To help you get to that next level."
While financial aid programs help students overcome financial barriers to higher education, TRIO programs help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi student Karen Santos said TRIO helped her decide was the right move for her.
“Coming from a low-income family, I knew it was going to be hard to pay for college and be able to think that I could attend college, because my family didn’t," she said.
According to Texas TRIO Association, there are more than 2,700 TRIO programs serving over 860,000 low-income Americans. These programs serve students in grades 6-12.
“What TRIO means to me is, honestly one of my biggest support systems," said recent TAMUCC graduate Jasmin Gomez.
Stinson said he is looking forward to helping students in the Lone Star State, and in the Coastal Bend.
“Because it gives an opportunity, not only for men of color, but professionals like myself — they see that and they are like,"Hey, maybe I can be that," Stinson said.
Recent past Texas TRIO President D ‘Angelo Sands said it's a rewarding feeling to see the students the group has helped graduate and go into their careers.
“The work that we do is not easy," he said. "You get in the trenches with these kids. These kids may not know, in the moment, where they are or where they are going, and for them to come full circle, you know, that is why we do the job that we do," he said.
And what does Coastal Bend Black Excellence mean to them?
“It gives a sense of recognition that's positive, that’s empowering," Sands said. "That allows other students to be able to see someone that may look like them, or identify with that person, and say 'OK, I see myself as that person. I also see myself doing what they are doing.' "
Stinson will start his term as President for Texas TRIO inFebruary 2023. To join Texas TRIO Association, click here.
“It is: 'How can I help the community that I am now part of?' " he said. "You always see yourself, again, leaving it better than how you found it. And being that figure for people of color, it is an amazing opportunity."