Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Brief Introduction: Charlotte, Teach for America, and the Always Eventful Road Trip

Did you know that only one in ten students who grow up in low-income communities will graduate from college? Teach for America (TFA) strives to end the educational inequity that occurs in low income areas of the US by enlisting promising college graduates to participate in their program. These graduates commit to teaching for two years in low-income rural and urban communities throughout the United States. Over the years, TFA has recruited over 24,000 teachers and impacted the lives of over 3 million students through its efforts. I encourage you to visit to find out what TFA is all about.

Over the next several days, we'll be visiting classrooms throughout Charlotte ranging from kindergarten to high school. Our primary goal is to help the TFA teachers in their classrooms wherever our help is most needed. Because of the wide range of grades we'll be visiting, we plan on having very different experiences each day. Some of our tasks will include tutoring students, teaching lessons, holding college Q&A sessions, and even making gingerbread houses, but I'll let my other AWB teammates tell you more about that. On each of the next 5 days, you'll have the opportunity to hear from a different participant on our trip. We hope this will give you a wide range of perspectives of our time in Charlotte as well as a better understanding of the social issue we're working with and the impact we and the TFA teachers are making in the lives of area students.

Now, a brief overview of our road trip to Charlotte. Overall, the trip went very smoothly. We were on the road by 9 am this morning, riding to Charlotte in style in a light green minivan. As you can see from the picture above, everyone made sure to get plenty of rest (we'll be having 5:30 am wake-up calls throughout the week!). We decided to take an alternate route to Charlotte only to find out the highway into North Carolina was closed due to a rockslide. We followed the trusty GPS, and sure enough, half an hour later, we ended up at the same dead end we had encountered earlier. Needless to say, we went a bit out of our way, but what's another 2 hours on the road with the best AWB group members a person could ask for? Participants used the extra time wisely by playing a few rounds of Apples to Apples, selecting theme songs for the trip, and, of course, catching up on more sleep. We arrived at our destination around 8:30 pm, grabbed a quick dinner, and are resting up for our first adventure in Charlotte tomorrow. We have a free day to explore the city before volunteering Tuesday through Friday. Tomorrow, you'll hear from Albert about our first day in Charlotte!

Junior, Marketing Major

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