Otero Junior College graduate Israel “Izzy” Harris was recently honored at the 2017 Colorado ASPIRE State Conference as one of two Colorado TRIO Achievers.  TRIO Achievers are former TRIO participants who have completed their degrees and who are recognized among their colleagues as having a record of achievement and stature. 

When Harris joined the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program at OJC in 2014, he was living at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless at Fort Lyon. He had been homeless for three years; struggling with addiction and living on the bank of a river in Denver.  When someone asked if he was ready for help Harris said yes, and he arrived truly ready to accept that help.

Harris began taking college classes on the campus of Ft. Lyon, then began attending them at OJC. When he heard about the TRIO program, he wanted to be a part of it. While completing the Health Navigator Program, Harris discovered his passion: helping others. 

As a student, Harris displayed a strong work ethic, made the President’s Honor list and was inducted as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.  He went on to complete an associate of arts degree and will transfer to Colorado State University- Pueblo this fall to work on a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work. His plan is to use his life experiences and education to help others struggling with addictions. 

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