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Soft drink bottler Buffalo Pepsi has donated $6,500 to support the expansion of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, a dropout-prevention program in the Buffalo schools.

The Hillside program, which serves nearly 4,000 high school students in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Prince George’s County, Md., was introduced at South Park High School in March 2011 and was expanded to Bennett High School in 2012.

More than 180 students participate at the two schools.

The program, an affiliate of the Hillside Family of Agencies based in the Rochester area, provides students with a professional youth advocate through graduation and up to two years after high school.

The school-based advocates serve as mentors and role models and help the students graduate and go on to college and careers.