Bringing History to Life – A letter from our Executive Council

March 2024

Dear Friend,

Selena’s eyes are wide at the crowd of people waving bright, boldly lettered signs. She can feel the hair on her arms tingle, and the dimples in her cheek form. Suddenly, two black SUV’s pull up, their windows blacked out and American flags streaming off the front. The crowds hush in anticipation. First, men in dark sunglasses with wires hanging on their ears appear, scanning the premises. Finally, two men follow in plain button-down shirts carrying warm and intent smiles. Selena spares a glance toward her friend, Miya, bearing the sentiment of, “can you believe we’re really here?”

Every year, teens in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade with diverse perspectives on their future join the college vision trip not knowing what to expect. Some of our youth use the trip to help discern if college is the right path for them, others take time to see what kind of colleges they like and what majors different colleges offer. In every case, our students learn and take advantage of the unique environment to gain transformational experience. And sometimes, they even encounter history in the making.

Two students from our UrbanPromise Academy, Miya and Selena, reflect on last year’s trip remembering the joys of traveling alongside their peers. Among their most poignant memories was stumbling upon a rally supporting two Tennessee senators. Miya recalls having never been a “witness to something like that before”, and Selena mentioned that when the Senators showed up, it “felt like the president was there because of the security and fancy cars.” To Miya and Selena, it felt like they were part of something important and historic.

History comes to life from other eras, too, as they explore a house that was along the underground railroad and view basements where slaves seeking freedom had stayed on their journey. Selena comments: “I never knew how small their living conditions were, I’ve heard about it in textbooks, but actually seeing it allowed me to have sympathy.”

The trip is more than just a tour. It creates a vivid, tangible connection. Students realize that college is more than just school. It is a place for community, culture, purpose and personal growth. They see that in life after High School, their personal and communal history matters, because they can be participants in transforming the world.

As we approach this year’s college vision trip, place yourself in the shoes of Miya and Selena. Imagine yourself experiencing new and exciting possibilities that come with deciding a college major, living away from home, trying new foods, and perhaps even meeting two congressmen for the first time. That is the experience you are giving to each student you help send on this trip. With your gift, another student like Selena can meet a senator, and gain compassion for the generations who came before them. Someone like Miya, will gain confidence in her ability to contribute to her community and learn what kind of school she would like to attend. Your generosity promotes the possibility and promise that after our students throw their caps in the air, the future is full of hope.

You can make a piece of that hopeful perspective possible when you give $100 for a tank of gas. $500 provides the hotel rooms for the trip. $50 feeds one of the students for a day. $250 provides a group excursion to a Civil Rights museum. A monthly gift of $35 ensures StreetLeaders and Academy students have resources they need throughout the year for academic and college preparation.

Thank you for bringing the college vision trip to life!


Josh Gregor
Executive Council
James Russell
Executive Council
Dionne Xavier
Executive Council