NEWS & EVENTS
Posted: May 01, 2012 4:40 PM CDT Updated: May 01, 2012 6:01 PM CDT
By Kelly Rippin, Monongalia and Preston County Reporter - bio | email
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Experiencing and learning about our country firsthand is something every child should have the opportunity to do and a local foundation is making that dream a reality.
We've introduced you to the Today's Youth, Tomorrow's America foundation in previous stories. The group was started by a travel company based in Clarksburg.
On Tuesday, I got the opportunity to travel with the foundation's originator to Wash., D.C. with a sixth grade class from inner city Chicago.
"The foundation helped us out a lot," said John DiChiara of Chicago International Charter School Lloyd Bond. "So, it took a very big number and made it quite a bit smaller so that number was now more realistic for more of my students to take part in this kind of trip."
Last year, DiChiara brought a much smaller group of sixth graders to D.C. to learn about American history.
"A trip like this is one of those things that is going to completely alter the way they think," DiChiara said. "They're going to see stuff here that they've heard of, they're going to see a lot of stuff that they've never heard of, but suddenly they're interested in because now there are a lot more options than maybe they thought they had before."
And that is exactly the goal that Today's Youth, Tomorrow's America has in mind: make educational travel an option for all students regardless of economic background.
"It is very cool to get here because most people don't get to come here," explained Cresean Gresham, sixth grader at CICS Lloyd Bond. "They're older, like in their 40s and 50s, and it's just an honor to be here because I'm at a young age and I've already seen so many things. It's unbelievable."
This trip to D.C. has Gresham thinking about being Vice President of the U.S.
"It would just be an honor to work with the president and have him tell me what to do, so I can learn so I can teach others about some of the things he does and why he does it," Gresham said.
As a Clarksburg based organization, Today's Youth, Tomorrow's America recognizes that many students here in West Virginia are in need of help to attend similar trips.
Roger Moore has taken more than 20 classes to D.C. from Ravenswood Middle School and this year is no exception.
"We had close to about 40 percent of our participants that were eligible for some foundation help. They can read about it in the book, but to actually be there and actually experience it is a whole different perspective."