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Women's History Month: OneGoal CEO Melissa Connelly Working To Give Students The Opportunity To Succeed

CHICAGO (CBS)-- March is Women's History Month, and all month long CBS 2 is featuring women who are making a difference in our community.

Thursday we're hearing from one woman who is working to make sure every kid gets the opportunity to succeed.

Meet Melissa Connelly.

"We often say as adults we believe in all kids, but so many of our systems and policies and procedures don't match that belief," Connelly said.

"OneGoal" is working to change that. An idea that started with a 5th grade CPS teacher.

"He was teaching and looked across his, you know, 32 fifth graders in front of him and tried to pick out the two based on statistics were likely to earn a BA by the age of 25 and couldn't do it, I mean it just broke his heart," Connelly said.

Led by CEO Melissa Connelly, OneGoal mentors low-income students.

"I can't sleep, knowing that so many kids across the country won't even have a glimpse into what what I know I would fight for for my own kids," she said.

Students from low-income communities are three times less likely to earn a degree after high school. OneGoal works with them, even after graduation, making sure they succeed in college.

"We're not asking for the world here, we're asking for equity we're asking for kids across the country to be given a fair shot at a true career," Connelly said.

She knows exactly what that shot means. She grew up missing class and was struggling until she got the support so many need.

"It breaks my heart now, because I know that I got what all kids deserve, but I was lucky I just happened to come across two incredible educators," She said.

Now, Connelly leads OneGoal, supporting more than 12,000 students across the country.

"OneGoal is everything to me to see that I have an opportunity to make sure that kids like me will never have to fight as hard as I thought to to get what I think should just be like basic human rights for our kids," She said.  "And I just, I feel so lucky every single day."

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