TRIO gives back to the community

Brett Kuras

The TRIO program at Augustana makes its mark on the community by contributing to a “national day of service” where the students and staff of the program travel the Quad Cities and volunteer at various charities. 

The TRIO program is a federally funded grant that assists those who are low income, have a disability or are first-generation students. The program offers extra resources such as tutoring, free lending of books and electronics and advice when a student needs help choosing their path at Augustana. This can include major and class exploration.

Director of the TRIO program, Dimitrios Stalides, acknowledges what TRIO’s national day of service means and how helpful it is to the students who participate. 

“It’s not only a way to give back, but [it] gives students experience,” Stalides said. “It gives them service experience, how to set up and run service events and allows them to form connections with people who can help them in the future.”

Sophomore Clemencia Patino and first-year Xochitl Rodriguez are both members of the TRIO program. 

“It’s an extra support system,” Rodriguez said. “We can jump on a video call to talk about academics, involvement on campus or just to talk about our lives.”

In agreement with Rodriguez, Patino said she feels that TRIO has helped her academically and personally.

“The really nice thing about TRIO here is that you can get a tutor no matter your grade here,” Patino said. “For regular tutoring, you have to have at least a C grade in the class to be eligible, but at TRIO, you can have one for free no matter your grade. It’s helpful when a class is becoming difficult.”

Stalides has had personal experience with the TRIO program not only as a director but as a participant. When he was young, the program had a great impact on him.

“I started out with bad grades, I had a disability, was low income and a first-generation student, so I fit all the criteria,” Stalides said. “It’s very personal for me, to help students. It’s a labor of love. I want to give back and be an example for these students.”

TRIO’s day of service took place on Feb. 26, 2022, and is being hosted around the Quad Cities at the following locations: Project NOW–Head Start, Closet2Closet, the ARC of the Quad Cities Area and Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. 

This will not be TRIO’s only event throughout the year. 

“Next weekend, we are taking them on a trip to Chicago,” Stalides said. “It gives them exposure to things they aren’t used to, and [it] will hopefully expand some viewpoints about the world around them.”