In a few weeks we’re going to send 10 high school youth on a 2,000 mile trip in the Southeast to visit colleges and civil rights sites – our annual College Vision Trip. The youth who went last year speak to you below sharing why it matters and how you can make a difference.
“Sometimes people look at youth from the city and they have a negative perception about them. This trip gives us a chance to have vision of what we want to do. Supporting it can change stereotypes. People who are more privileged advocate for their children. My parents can’t do this for me in the same way. This trip is how people can advocate for me. Their support can change stereotypes.” Angela shared this so easily in the circle of kids I was interviewing. It was clear it came from the heart. So much so it kind of grabbed my heart.
It was how she said it, too – without judgment, but with conviction and urgency. Her words articulated an aspiration for hope that all of us could look at things differently and make different choices. Stereotypes hold our kids back. Vision frees them – and us.
Theo chimed in, “I thought it would be boring, I really didn’t want to go. But when I saw it, I got excited. It gives you a bigger reach. If people support this, we can achieve things we didn’t think were possible.”
“I just kept thinking ‘this is real’,” Roger reflected. “This is what they’re all talking to me about, where they want me to be. This is real for me. If I want to go to college, I can’t just talk about it. I need to get the qualifications to go.”
“It made me grow. It’s like I’ve put on new clothes. I was proud to represent UrbanPromise as a group,” Carla commented.
Seasoned staff Deborah and Aaron shepherded the trip.
“Dropping them off to stay overnight in the dorm at ORU was powerful,” Deborah shared, “You could feel their fear.”
Aaron elaborated, “It was a big deal for them to experience a night away and take a step of faith, to see themselves conquering fears and building courage.”
“Picking them up the next day for breakfast, everybody was best friends. It felt like a very real college experience,” Deborah continued.
The students all shared how meeting two of our former UrbanPromise alumni who were seniors at ORU motivated them. “Seeing them in college was inspiring. They came from our neighborhoods and there they were in college. It was powerful to think that could be us,” Roger said.
Combining the college component with the civil rights history has a catalytic effect in driving home a personal vision for our youth. ”I learned a lot more about slavery at the slave house in Memphis. It was scary, surreal, hard to believe it actually happened like that,” Angela commented. Roger added, “The slave house reminded me how far we’ve come. I can’t imagine living like that. With my smart mouth they would have killed me from the jump!”
Angela is a senior now, and has diligently completed college applications, explored scholarships, and worked hard on her grades. I’ve always known Angela was smart, but it’s clear to me the College Vision Trip accomplished its goal – giving Angela vision while breaking stereotypes. Vision gives you courage and purpose to persevere.
Remember Angela’s words – “This trip is how people can advocate for me. Their support can change stereotypes.” She’s right, she’s calling on us to make the difference. Advocate for Angela. Make it real for Roger. Give Theo a bigger reach.
$125 admits them to the Civil Rights sites. $300 fuels their trip and $525 will cover their hotels when they’re not billeted. $1000 will sponsor 4 kids while a gift of $2500 will advocate for all of them the whole way.
Angela inspires me. May she and her friends inspire you to look at the response card and advocate for them. Thank you!