Nonprofit helps students move from College to Congress

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WJLA by Kellye Lynn

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WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Just a few steps inside the office of New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas sits a 20-year-old who once wondered if she'd ever reach her dreams.

"My senior year my dad lost his job which was sort of, you know, it was catastrophic," said Alyssa Kurke.

It was a difficult time for Kurke, her father, and two sisters. She worked 20 hours a week in high school to earn extra money and was determined to find a way to pay for college.

"It was hard but I've been here and I've been supported by so many amazing people," Kurke said.

Financial aid opened the door to American University and a program called College to Congress helped Kurke become an intern on Capitol Hill.

"This internship isn't just a summer experience but it really is a life-changing and forming opportunity that will lead to that opening job; that will get them an interview," said College to Congress Founder and CEO Audrey Henson.

College to Congress places high-achieving, low-income students in two month internships. The program offers each participant $10,000 in funding to cover all of the expenses associated with the internship; including travel, housing, meals and clothing.

"I got a couple of pairs of pants, nice dresses, and I have at least two weeks worth of clothes now," Kurke said.

The support she's getting is allowing the law and political science major to dream again.

"Support is everything and the opportunities are there if you are willing to work for them," she said.

The program also pairs interns with mentors and offers pre-internship training and workshops.

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Audrey Henson