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This week, our Prevention Department took eight young women to Costa Rica for four days! Through private donations and support from the Born and Raised Detroit Foundation, the Prevention Department organized the trip with the goal of giving girls the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture.
The trip was open to middle and high school aged participants in the Prevention Department’s Afterschool Program through a Grade Point Average (GPA) challenge. The girls with the two highest GPA’s in the high school group and in the middle school group were selected to go. Additionally, two girls from each age group who had the largest improvement in GPA over one term were also selected to go on the trip.
Over the past several months staff members have worked hard to help the young women and their parents prepare for the trip. They have held bi-weekly meetings with the high school and middle school girls, where they covered a range of topics including: safety, necessary immunizations, facts about Costa Rica, information about the culture change, appropriate etiquette, and much more! Since this was the first time any of the participants have ridden an airplane, they also gave the girls information about the airport and traveling by plane. Although four of the young women going on the trip are bilingual in English and Spanish, the preparation meetings have also included some basic Spanish lessons so all of the youth will know some key phrases and words they can use while in Costa Rica.
“A trip abroad has been known to boost self-confidence and self-worth and we are hoping that the young ladies participating will take advantage of other opportunities available to them and not see any barriers to reaching their full potential,” said Valorie Evans, Prevention Department Director, and visionary for this trip. Valorie recognized how international travel had influenced her own life, and she wanted to bring that experience to the youth in Alternatives For Girls’ programs. She hopes this opportunity will give these young women the chance to “be exposed to a new environment and help them be confident to travel on their own in the future.”
Once the youth return from their trip, we’ll share their experiences with you in our printed spring newsletter. Please watch for that story in your mailbox in the coming month!