Local youths head to China

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

Hyde Park residents and King College Prep High School students Ghana Horton, Nicolette Robinson and Raymond Turner are three of 20 students who will travel to China this summer with the Chicago Urban League’s Mission to China program. The Chicago Urban League has launched a series of fundraising campaigns to raise money for the trip.

Hoping to help quell the teen violence epidemic on Chicago’s south and west sides, the Chicago Urban League (CUL) in conjunction with the China-United States Exchange Foundation is sponsoring 20 Chicago high school students to take a trip to China.

“Exposing our children to another country and culture can move them to higher ground, showing them they have a future that does not end with them dropping out of school, losing hope, going to jail or dying from catching a stray bullet,” said Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “Our students will have the opportunity to discover their potential and gain invaluable leadership skills, greater global awareness and interpersonal perspective that comes with traveling abroad.”

The students will spend two weeks of their summer vacation taking in the sights, sounds and cultural offerings of Beijing and Shanghai, giving them a global perspective on their lives and communities and empowering them to see themselves as part of a global community, Zopp said.

Prior to their departure, the Chicago Urban League will facilitate seminars that cover Chinese language, philosophy, history, economic and social development. The students will also participate in lectures on minority ethnic group development in China, anti-poverty development, environmental conservation and alternative energy development, technology development, China’s foreign relations policy and US-China relations, China’s five-year plan, education in China and the operations of the Chinese.

Over the past several months, CUL has held various fundraisers to collect money for the students to take the trip. The most recent fundraiser is a web-based campaign at Indiegogo.com. Expenses for the Mission to China program include pens and notebooks, Mission to China sweatshirts and backpack, passport application fees and Chinese language, culture and history seminars, ground transportation in China, mementos, lodging and hotel accommodations. To date, CUL has raised more than $2,000 toward its $15,000 goal.

The goal of the CUL is to have these students return as global leaders engaged in civic, political and social change, said Shari Runner, senior vice-president of strategy and community development for the Chicago Urban League.

“We hope this trip empowers and inspires our students to set higher goals for themselves and their communities due to their exposure to a nation that is focused on economic and technological advancement,” said Shari Runner, who will be traveling with the students to China.

To make a donation to the Mission to China program, call 773-285-5800 or visit
http://igg.me/at/Mission-To-China/x/284 4201.

d.phillips@hpherald.com