Boys Hope Girls Hope offers scholarships and housing to students

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Imagine moving out of the house at the age of 13. Melissa Castro did it to further her education and focus on her studies.

"They treat me like a younger sister, and it's never made me feel out of place," said Castro.

She is the youngest girl living at Girls Hope, and she IS in just the 8th grade.

Girls Hope is a home for eight young scholars in the Valley. Most of its students attend Xavier College Preparatory on scholarship.

Nearby, Boys Hope is the same type of home for eight boys attending Brophy.

The students accepted into Boys Hope Girls Hope live in the home all four years of high school.

"I heard about it and it just seemed like it was going to give me so much more opportunity for school and college, and your future's pretty much set when you come here," said Castro.

Castro just received her acceptance letter to Xavier Monday.

She lives at Girls Hope to focus on her studies because her mom is often at work.

"I'd be kind of on my own because she has work stuff, and here it's kind of like, the house-parents are so attentive; they're there," said Castro.

Brophy junior Diego Yanez lives at Boys Hope because his parents moved to Colorado when his father couldn't find a construction job here.

Diego didn't want to start a new high school in his junior year.

"I still miss them, my family, but it's being with the guys and the house parents; it's helping me get through it," said Yanez.

He used to take the light rail from Mesa to attend Brophy but now Boys Hope Girls Hope is just a quick walk from campus.

"It feels really great. It feels like I can tackle anything senior year, and I'm kind of excited for college," said Yanez.

Boys Hope Girls Hope is privately funded through corporate and private donations and works with scholarship foundations to get its students the money they need to attend Xavier and Brophy.

"We have single-parent households, we have parents who've been deported or incarcerated. We have scholars whose parents are deceased or are living with their grandparents," said Mia Foster Chief Operating Officer of Boys Hope Girls Hope.

Last year Boys Hope Girls Hope graduates earned $700,000 in scholarship funds for college and BHGH provides a roof over its students' heads as it teaches them structure and life skills while preparing them for college.

"It's just really family like, it's like you're living in, you have a second home.  It's really nice," said Castro.

Boys Hope Girls Hope is looking for more scholars.

To apply, go to www.bhghaz.org