Goodman Community Center’s Lussier LOFT teen center will be taking its first ever all-expenses paid college exploration trip over spring break when 10 high school juniors and seniors visit nine historically Black colleges and universities.
The trip, using a GCC van, will highlight campuses in Kentucky (Kentucky State University and Simmons College), Tennessee (Tennessee State University and Fisk University), Georgia (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spellman College) and Alabama (Alabama State University and Tuskegee University) over the course of six days. The teens will also visit Georgia State, which is not an HBCU.
Not only will the students be learning about the rich history of these higher-learning institutions and all they have to offer, but they will also spend time exploring the culture of the cities that they visit and the history that lies within these communities through museum trips, guided tours and exploration of different cuisines.
In collaboration with Goodman’s TEENworks program, teens have had the opportunity to earn money for the trip using paid shifts led by our TEENworks coordinator that has focused on budgeting and travel awareness.
There’s been a lot of work planning this trip and a lot of excitement surrounding it. Students and staff alike have spent time together to team-build and create a positive relationship and space for all to be heard and included, knowing the trip will encompass many different interest areas. Students have spent time researching the colleges and universities, the cities that those institutions are in and the surrounding areas to become more knowledgeable about the destinations.
Teens have spent time learning the histories of these schools and how civil rights movements have shaped education and the reason why HBCUs were created. This has led our students to take an interest in seeing the African American Museum of Music in Nashville, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta and many other places.
LOFT staff have been spending many hours with representatives from the college campuses to construct intentional and meaningful visits for all attending this trip. Staff have also reached out to local restaurants in Nashville and Atlanta to discuss tours of their kitchens and learn about the cultural significance of their signature dishes and how they cook it.
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