LONG BRANCH: For 40 years Long Branch parents and students have been seeking ways for young people to find out how college could be in their future.
“It all started as parents took their kids in to get them up and ready for school in circumstances where the kids saw no value in education,” said Ted Drakeford of the Long Branch Housing Authority.
The idea stuck and became more energized. That energy led to Get On The Bus (GOTB), a program that takes high school students on a week-long tour of colleges on the east cast as far south as the Carolinas, including well know schools as Howard University in Washington D.C.
Thirty two students from Long Branch, Neptune, Shore Regional and Monmouth Regional, Freehold and towns in North Jersey are in the plan for this year. In recent years everyone who took the tour went on to further education after high school, to college or advanced professional and craft training.
“It works,” says GOTB leader Carl Jennings.
He gave the instructions to the students who came to the Soul Food briefing dinner on Friday, April 4, at the Long Branch Senior Center.
His message was dress for the occasion, and gain respect and acceptance from the administrators at the schools they visit. Often a student qualifies for school acceptance right while on the tour. That saves dollars and may be the help needed to continue education after high school.
The young people were excited and listened closely to the message Jennngs was sharing. They realized the importance of what he was telling them.
Parents were excited too. Their children were getting the assist they needed and might not get elsewhere.
Costs are helped by many private donations and some big helpers like the NJ Marathon and NJ Natural Gas. But it is a community affair – a chance for giveback.