Woodburn is an economically disadvantaged community, but that doesn’t stop anyone from reaching for the stars.

Many have moved to Woodburn from extreme poverty to take on thankless jobs with no health care, simply to put food on the table.

Luckily for them, there are places like?Salud Medical Center and Chemeketa Community College that work to help this population.

While not a free clinic, 45 percent of Salud’s patients are uninsured, and the clinic does not turn anyone away. This has meant some big challenges in an age of rising health care costs and declining Medicaid reimbursements. With the new Cover Oregon plan taking effect in October, Salud will be able to help even more struggling families and could even benefit financially.

Chemeketa’s campus in Woodburn, meanwhile, is the only one in the community college’s system that grew this summer. It doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money you have, if you are able to earn a 3.5 grade point average or higher, you can get a year free at Chemeketa.

While on the surface, it might not sound like much to be accepted into a community college, Chemeketa offers classes that rival those at four-year universities. It offers personalized curriculum and even opens the door before a student walks across the stage to get their high school diploma.

Thanks to the fifth year program at Woodburn?Success High School and other accredited courses being taught at Woodburn High School, students are coming to?Chemeketa college-ready.

Gone are the days when, if you were born poor, you would die poor. Thanks to organizations like Salud and Chemeketa, the future is bright for anyone who seeks it.

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