FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --In the North Valley, more than two dozen girls are celebrating a meaningful milestone in Merced.
They completed a four-week program called the Lift While You Lead Empowerment Project.
The 8th grade students marked the occasion during a closing ceremony Thursday at UC Merced.
The program is a collaboration between the university, the Merced City School District and the Merced Union High School District.
It aims to increase self-esteem and improve academics and attendance. It also promotes higher education and helps the girls become leaders in their schools and community.
"This is what this is about," program coordinator Annie Delgado said. "This is our second year doing this and our first group's gpa went from a 2.8 to a 3.26. The saw improvement in their attendance and their discipline so I think this is a win for our community."
The program included field trips to Merced College and CSU Monterey Bay.
The group also conquered a confidence-building ropes course in Mariposa.
The Educational Employees Credit Union funded the field trips.