SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Boston-based organization devoted to helping struggling students succeed held a college fair in Springfield Monday.

“Gear Up,” which stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,” hosted hundreds of Springfield high school students at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

They interacted with state college recruitment teams and heard inspirational testimonies from college students who had overcome obstacles to their education.

Students told 22News how “Gear Up” counselors helped them prepare for college.

Brooklyn Jones of Renaissance High School told 22News, “Their programs have shown me different opportunities to better my grades and my attendance, and to look into different colleges to get me ready and prepared for when I apply to colleges.”

Fellow Renaissance H.S. student Lamar cook added that before “Gear Up” he didn’t know a thing about applying to college.

“It’s really gotten me ready for college,” said Cook. “At first, I didn’t know anything about college, what I needed to do to apply, get ready for different colleges.”

“Gear Up” began its programs helping students 20-years-ago. They assist hundreds of western Massachusetts students every year.