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We’ve just held our first annual HelpOurKids College Tour, and it was a wonderful success!

The 2014 HelpOurKids College Tour 2014 took place on Friday, October 17, 2014. Six young ladies (ages 16 through 18) went to Worcester to visit Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester State University, and Clark University. We left Springfield at 8:45 a.m. and returned after 5 p.m. HelpOurKids made all of the arrangements and provided breakfast bags and boxed lunches with drinks so we could cover as much ground as possible.

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The purpose of the tour was two-fold. One was to show them a world they may not have known was available to them, and to show them what college was about financially, socially, and academically. The other was to provide an opportunity for the kids to experience three different types of colleges so that they could make informed choices.

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One of the most heartwarming aspects of the day was a noticeable transformation in the girls’ behavior over the course of the day. At each college, they had to introduce themselves and answer questions aloud when asked what they were interested in studying. Initially cautious and self-conscious, by the third school the girls that were undecided about a “major” said so with confidence in their voices, and the girls who before could barely be heard stated their area of interest at an audible volume.

The amount of conversation among the girls also increased as the day progressed. They were comparing what they liked and didn’t like about a school, the student organizations and clubs the schools had, the financial advantages of attending, the classroom sizes, the tutoring available, and of course the cafeterias and dining options. You could see normal teenage behavior and dreams entering their lives.

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Walking on the campus at Worcester State and seeing an actual dorm room for the first time elicited such excitement, I cannot put it into words. I realized that the kids were envisioning themselves on a college campus, thinking about the future and what could be…they were thinking about what was possible! Instead of focusing on surviving, they were thinking about learning to live.

We are so grateful for our generous donors and volunteers, all of whom made this heartwarming day possible!