MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Students are back from winter break, but in some classrooms, there’s more than just learning happening.

“We come to these meetings just to make an impact on our community, and we will actually go as far as to say we will make an impact,” Maloney High School student Franiele Urena Garcia said. “It’s our number one goal in this community.”

There’s planning for a brighter future.

“It’s great. They come in, and they’re excited to actually get to work with each other,” Quinnipiac senior and QUADS mentor Connor Becerril said.

QUADS, which stands for Quinnipiac University Advancing Diversity and Science, is a program funded by a grant given to QU to provide mentors in under-resourced school districts. Hamden, Ansonia, Maloney High in Meriden were chosen said.

“We really targeted these schools because they’re high need,” Principal investigator of the grant Cindy Kern said. “They also are the students we want to lift up.”

A goal is to push the students to think bigger, preparing themselves for their own future.

“More like if they had to go for an interview, they’d have something to talk about, more like self-confidence type things,” Michael Thorp, a QUADS teacher at Maloney High School said. “All things that are kind of hard to teach in a traditional classroom. It just gives them an extra edge up for anything they’re going to need, not only for college but, honestly, life in general.”

Students in Hamden, Ansonia, and Meriden are working together to identify problems and come up with solutions to pave the way for a better future for themselves and others.

“I used to live in really bad areas, so changing so other people don’t go through that as well,” Garcia said. “Getting people to listen, it’s going to be the hardest part, but we’ll get through it of course.”

Read previous editions of What’s Right With Schools here.