The story of being the first one in your family to go to college might be cliché to some, but it never stops tugging at a person’s heartstrings.

Introducing, Nikai Santiago.

Santiago, 18, lives in New York City and graduated from the Eagle Academy for The Young Men of Harlem. He hopes to get into broadcast journalism as an adult, but for now he uses his spare time to host “The Santiago Show,” a podcast where he invites friends and family to discuss current events.

How did he manage to accomplish all of this? A combination of hard work, smart work and JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative (TFI). Despite the current state of America, the corporate entity managed to stage a graduation for Santiago.

TFI is a three-year high school academic and mentorship program created by JPMorgan Chase geared specifically towards young Black and Latino men, as well as other young men of color. The company’s goal is to “build the next generation of leaders who will help move our country forward—especially during these challenging times.”

On its 10th anniversary, JPMorgan announced an expansion of the program which they plan on tripling in size in the next decade. In the present, however, the program is helping kids like Santiago realize his dreams.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” explained Santiago. “Growing up I had no examples of what to do, but I had examples of what not to do. After meeting people from TFI, the program helped me pinpoint exactly on what I wanted to do with my life; I realized I love to engage with others and have an impact on people with the way I speak.”

TFI matches JPMorgan Chase employees with high school fellows. In the ensuing three years, the employees serve as mentors to the fellows giving them academic support, leadership empowerment, and coaching through the high school maze. They also prepare students for college and how to manage academic and social lives once they’re there. One-hundred percent of TFI’s fellows graduate from college with about half of the fellows being the first ones in their family to go to college.

According to a recent report by the Urban Institute, when compared to their peers, young men of color from low-income families are less likely to graduate high school (20% lower rates), earn a bachelor’s degree (50% lower rates) and secure employment and career advancement. According to research by the JPMorgan Institute, men of color have fewer liquid assets and earn less than what white men earn.

It’s an ongoing story in America, but people like JPMorgan Chase Vice President and TFI Mentor Ami Kotecha are looking to cut the legs off said story.

“I found out about TFI through the JPMorgan Chase work Intranet,” said Kotecha. “I’d been mentoring through a non-profit in NYC but every week I would meet a different person, and I wasn’t able to follow through or see the impact of the time we spent together. I was looking to dedicate time to helping an individual grow over a longer time period, so TFI was perfect.

“Also being a woman of color, I was extremely passionate about mentoring someone of color as I felt like I could relate to some of the struggles and how I overcame them to be where I am today,” said Kotecha. “TFI gave me the exact opportunity I was looking for—to work closely with a young person of color and help him navigate his way through the daunting teenage years.”

Kotecha had similar experiences to Santiago in other ways as well.

“I always knew I wanted to work for a large corporate company,” Kotecha said. “I did work experience when I was Nikai’s age in two investment banks [one of them being JPMorgan Chase], and loved the culture. When asked in high school, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I wrote, working for an investment bank!”

Santiago, who will be attending St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., said he built a brotherhood at TFI and said his life would’ve turned out differently if it wasn’t for the fellowship.

“TFI gave me tools to help me on my journey to success,” Santiago said. “Coming into TFI I can say that it had a very huge impact on changing the way I viewed the world. The program helped me significantly increase my GPA through the academic tutoring, but it also provided me real-life skills that will help me in college and in the outside world. It introduced me to my mentor Ami, who has had a significant impact on my life.

“The program couldn’t have connected me with a better mentor, I’m so grateful for her,” said Santiago.

Kotecha recommends that more mentors step up to the plate and coach those who want to be coached to academic, and eventually life, success.

“My advice to any peers about TFI would be: do it,” said Kotecha. “This is one of the best, all-rounded, well thought through programs there is today. The opportunities these young men have is incredible, and being a mentor is just a small part of what the program offers, but a key part. The mentorship part of the program is to help the student create his path in life, being a sounding board, and seeing him grow and succeed is such a wonderful feeling.

“Knowing that I was a fraction of Nikai’s journey is truly gratifying,” Kotecha said.