Thirty bright and ambitious After School Matters teens recently took part in an exciting tour of five Atlanta universities and colleges courtesy of After School Matters University (ASMU) and United Airlines. The ASMU program provides teens with support in preparing for college and career success, including all-expenses-paid trips to visit college campuses, and provides them a stipend.
The whirlwind 48-hour trip took place October 26-27, with visits to Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse College and Spelman College, Emory University, Georgia State University, as well as The King Center and Dr. King’s birth home.
“I really enjoyed my time in Atlanta. We explored a lot of schools I wouldn’t have looked at before,” shared Amir N., age 16 from Calumet Heights. “Before I started ASM, I didn’t even know if I wanted to go to college or what I would want to major in. Now, I’m thinking about studying anesthesiology and hope to get a sports scholarship. During the trip, I was really looking at Emory University and Morehouse College, two prestigious universities I’d like to be a part of and look forward to applying.”
Participating teens came from across the city, but mainly the South Side, including Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park, Belmont Cragin, Beverly, Calumet Heights, Chatham, Englewood, Grand Boulevard, Morgan Park, New City, Oakland, Riverdale, Roseland, South Shore, Washington Heights, West Garfield Park, West Pullman, and Woodlawn neighborhoods.
Together, the high school juniors and seniors explored the different campuses, opening their eyes to the possibilities that await them after graduation.
After a short flight from Chicago to Atlanta, the teens headed to Georgia Tech, where they had the opportunity to hear from an admission counselor and enjoy the college dining experience at the North Dining Hall during lunch.
From there, participants visited the iconic HBCUs Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. At Morehouse, the young men immersed themselves in the college’s rich heritage and atmosphere, exploring dormitories and iconic landmarks like the MLK statue and the football field. The young women on the tour visited Spelman, learning about its history, traditions, sisterhood, and academic rigor.
The next stop on the tour was Emory University, where the students explored the campus, asking questions, learning about academics and traditions, and had the opportunity to explore a dorm.
The last stop on the tour was The King Center, where the teens visited Dr. & Mrs. King’s crypt, observed the Eternal Flame, and explored Freedom Hall.
The Atlanta trip was one of self-discovery for the 30 Chicago teens. They were able to discover schools outside of their hometown, make new friends, and strengthen their confidence in themselves. The teens returned to Chicago knowing that higher education is possible and can be a gateway to a brighter future.
This transformative experience would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of United Airlines, who provided the tickets, and ASM staff, including Lisa Caraballo, Melly Palomar, Imani Davis, Seneca Coley, Brian Pool, Tonya Rayburn, Martina Cohran, and Denise Moore, who have helped ignite dreams and aspirations for the participants, expanding their horizons to new possibilities.