College Road Trip 2013 Returns Home

College Road Trip 2013 Returns Home

By Hallie Gremlitz and Kate Piniewski

An energetic and inspiring group of eight DREAM teens and four chaperones recently returned from an eight-day trip of touring colleges and universities in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York. The third annual College Road Trip was made possible with a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund with the goal of breaking financial barriers that often prohibit DREAM teenagers from visiting colleges outside of Vermont.

The group visited seven schools throughout the week: Binghamton University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, Temple University, Chestnut Hill College, Drexel University, and Rowan University. We took campus tours, met with admissions directors and current students, tasted dining hall food, and learned specifics of the application process and financial aid options. The individual transformations among participants from our first tour to our last were remarkable. Most DREAM mentees began the trip having never formally toured a college, unaware of what questions to ask, and somewhat unfamiliar with the “lingo” of the application process that seems commonplace to many who have been through a system of higher education. By the time our last tour rolled around, the group as a whole was extraordinarily aware of what questions they wanted answered and asked our guide about everything from food on campus, to the average GPA admitted, to public transportation around the area, and just about everything in between. As chaperones, we couldn’t be more proud of the teens or more excited to see their enthusiasm towards college and positive, healthy futures.

To balance the educational component, the group also spent an evening at Camel Beach Water Park, toured Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, walked through Central Park, and ate frozen yogurt at the Plaza Hotel. During the less structured events, teens were able to ask chaperones additional questions about the college process, have mature, intelligent discussions about life choices, and feel comfortable on a challenging, but rewarding, adventure.

The trip would not have been achievable without the kindness of our many supporters. We thank Honest Tom’sSugarsnap, Burlington Bagel, and Hannaford Supermarket for the many food donations. DREAM thanks Mike and the Swamp Road crew for sending us off; Sandy Mayson and Maron Deering for a comfortable first night in Philly; the Zelouf family for a barbecue dinner; Hilda and Denis DiBlasio for the hospitality and pancake breakfast; Mike O’Hara and Randy Blake for sharing your beautiful apartment; and to Jon and Maggie Potter for the pizza party and popsicles!

To view more photos, click here.

 

Participants:

  • Francine Bahati – Elm Street
  • Kelsey Finnegan – Franklin Square
  • Safia Haji – Riverside
  • Benn Lussier – Pine Meadow
  • Nakaya Mitchell – Northwoods
  • Jilani Musa – Franklin Square
  • Benjamin Nduqayo – Franklin Square
  • Doug Smith – Forest Park
  • Dan Dailey – Riverside mentor and Summer Community Intern
  • Evan Eckstein – Former Riverside mentor and DREAM volunteer
  • Hallie Gremlitz – Primary Trip Leader and Riverside mentor
  • Kate Piniewski – Program Empowerment Director/AmeriCorps VISTA and former Riverside mentor