02 Aug 2017 College Tours Expose Students of Dunbar to Possibilities
by Dr. Janet James, I Will Mentorship
College tours are traditionally a process of gathering information from various colleges and universities, geographical areas, landmarks, hotels, restaurants, and student clientele.
My experience with the I Will Mentorship program entailed the practices of the traditional college tour, however, it far exceeded these traditions and expectation of the planning committee, volunteers, and students. I have been blessed not only to partake in the planning of three college tours under the umbrella of I Will Mentorship, but to attend the tours as well. We have toured various colleges and universities in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Washington D.C.
Meeting the students and parents from various high schools and communities was a blessing within itself. The students bonded and shared life their situations, goals, struggles and ambitions. To hear each student openly express themselves about their lives at present, and then share their “game plan” as to how they planned to accomplish said goals was amazing! In turn, the chaperones equally shared their stories about life and how we achieved our goals and the struggles that came along with pursuit of numerous levels of life. Needless to say, the stories, life lessons, and situations shared left many of us in joyful tears. Students were surprised to hear that the concerns they are experiencing were some of the same ones their chaperones had experienced as well.
Students shared, that they did not want to come on the College tour, but now they now they are happy they attended. Afterwards, some of the following statement were made: “This college tour was the best Spring Break ever!”, “I never intended to go to College, but I am going to college now!” and “My confidence was really bad, I thought I was not smart enough to go to College, but I see all these other kids going to college. I am going to college.”
These are just a few statements as there were so many more; all echoing the same sentiments. Many of students that attended the tour had never ventured out of the county let alone the State of Florida. Traveling by bus and airplane was an adventure that they will remember the rest of their life.
I Will Mentorship College tours are history in the making; producing college educated youth, inspiring the young students to pass positivity, networking, professionals, from generation to generation. The students will one day become chaperones and share their stories to another generation of students, thereby continuing the legacy. It is so much more than a college tour, for many it was/is a dream come true.
This summer, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is spotlighting the nonprofit organizations funded through the 2017 competitive grant cycle. We have asked our 2017 grantees to send us their stories. The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change-makers.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created over 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, last year the Foundation invested $5 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $111 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $67 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Based in Fort Myers, the Foundation has satellite offices located in Sanibel Island, LaBelle (Hendry County), and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, visit www.FloridaCommunity.com or call 239-274-5900.