Your Generosity Inspires Tenderloin Students to Attend College

It was 1997 and a group of eight teenagers and TASP staff packed into a YMCA van for Los Angeles. With a small budget, TASP Program Manager, Denise Obrero, managed to visit two colleges for TASP’s first College Tour.

With your help, the College Tour program has introduced nearly 250 students to 88 schools in the last 20 years and made college a real possibility.

Previous TASP participant Aisha Robinson assumed she’d live at home, maybe attend a local community college, until she went on a tour with TASP. After visiting schools in Georgia, Washington D.C., and Louisiana, she was determined to attend a university.

“It really opened my mind,” she said. “My whole perspective changed.”

She was accepted into four schools and attended St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. With a BA in Sociology, she now works as a caseworker in Hunter’s Point helping children and hopes to earn her MA in the future.

For many TASP students the College Tour is their first opportunity to learn about college life and the application process. It’s also often their first time traveling on an airplane or outside of San Francisco.

“Last year, which was my second college tour,” said Edward Freeman, TASP Program Coordinator, “half of the participants had never been on a plane before. So just sharing that experience with them was profound.”

To participate in the College Tour, students must attend a rigorous ten-week college workshop, meet a minimum GPA, and complete a series of assignments.

This year 26 students — more than double that of previous years — regularly attended the workshops. Out of the 26, a group of 15 flew to New York at the end of May. They visited four schools — New York University, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and Eugene Lang College.

Students also had the opportunity to see some of what New York has to offer. They went to the Natural History Museum, biked through Central Park, and of course, tried a slice of NY’s famous pizza.

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