Young Achievers Spring College Tour Introduces Students to New Opportunities
With bags unpacked, finals and graduation just around the corner, dreams of college are closer to becoming reality for dozens of metro area students after a week long bus trip. The 46 high school juniors and seniors in the YMCA of Greater Kansas City’s Young Achievers program went on a college tour over spring break in March, visiting eight universities in four states. At each stop, they met with college admissions directors to present their case for scholarships.
The teens toured Prairie View A&M University, Texas Southern University, Rice University and Wiley College in Texas. Next was Louisiana, with a visit to Grambling State University, then on to Mississippi and stops at Jackson State University and historic Tougaloo College. The trip ended with a look at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. They also took a tour of the Houston Astros front office and had a night out in downtown Memphis.
It was a trip Southeast High school senior George Douglas III won’t forget. He made new friends with others on the bus, was accepted to five out of the eight schools, and is now ready to go out and explore the world. He plans to go into Business and Marketing and is leaning towards accepting an offer from Prairie View A&M University.
For Young Achievers Director Christopher Madden the trip was a success. Although final offers from three Universities are still out, the trip so far has resulted in $160,000 in scholarships offered to the students. In addition, the tour allowed students to apply to the school they visited without application fees, a value of $250 per student. Thanks to generous donations from the community, the Y was able to provide almost $15,000 in financial assistance to offer this experience to the teens.
The students represented 18 high schools in Kansas and Missouri, and like George Douglas III, most will be the first in their families to attend college. Parent Caroline Frierson-Bonsasa is thankful to YA Director Christopher Madden for keeping the children safe, demonstrating leadership and being a great role model.
The Young Achievers College tour will expand next year with an additional tour. That trip will be an in-state tour of universities for the program’s middle school, freshman and sophomore students to get them ready for their next steps in a higher education. George Douglas III would encourage other students to join Young Achievers as a way to help prepare to be successful in life, and be exposed to new opportunities.
The college tour is just one of many activities the YMCA of Greater Kanas City’s Young Achievers program offers throughout the year to help teens explore college and career opportunities, develop leadership skills, build character, and learn from mentoring opportunities. It exemplifies the Y’s commitment to youth development and helping young people reach their fullest potential.