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Hillside Profile: Willie Jones (SOTA)

Some of the money you spend at the Wegmans LPGA Championship will go towards helping students in Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection.<br> <br> The program connects youth with part time work experiences and scholarships while helping students stay in school, achieve academic success and earn high school diplomas.&nbsp; More than 3,000 Rochester students participate in Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection.&nbsp; For the past 24 years, they have helped Rochester youth change their lives by staying engaged in school and beating the odds.<br> <br> News 8's Alex Hinckley got a first hand look at how this program can change students' lives.
Willie Jones is a senior at the School of the Arts in Rochester.  He's an honor student, athlete and vocal major.  "Singing before I came here didn't mean so much, but as I started coming here, it started meaning more to me."

Willie's dream is to be a physical therapist.  He has a full ride to Keuka College next year.  "I was pretty happy about that."

He says fulfilling his dreams may not have been possible if it wasn't for the Hillside Family of Agencies.  He's been a part of it since 8th grade.  "They improve my life tremendously by pushing me towards doing my best always."  Perhaps the most helpful thing Hillside did was connect Willie with his youth advocate, Matt Robinson.  Matt helps Willie both in the classroom and outside of school.  "I just feel overwhelmed by love and caring from Matt and he just does a tremendous job.  He takes his job really seriously, like, he treats us as his own children."

Matt has the same praise for Willie.  "He's an awesome kid.  Always smiling, always positive and he's driven, he's motivated.  I wish I had 35 Willie Jones'".  The pair have mutual admiration for one another.  Willie knows when the going gets tough, he can turn to Matt.  "It keeps me stable as a person and it just betters my advantage on just being able to handle school and my social life."

Now Willie is an advocate for Hillside.  "Hillside has also opened up opportunities".  And Matt couldn't be more proud.  "When you touch the life of a child, if you make an impact in their life, it really gives you that good feeling that you're making a difference."
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