The program provides all-expense paid field trips once a month during the school year to selected underprivileged students at all grade levels who rarely, if ever, get to travel outside city limits.
Initially, students visited nearby educational sights such as the CNN Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Georgia Renaissance Festival. However, the program has evolved to out-of-state trip to places such as Washington, D.C., Kansas City and Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Tomorrow, students will travel to New York to visit many of the city’s world renowned landmarks. They are to return on Sunday.
They will visit the Empire State Building, United Nations, NBC Studios, Fifth Avenue, Madame Tussauds wax museum, the 911 Memorial, Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island, Chinatown, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Art Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park and Radio City Music Hall.
James Albright, director of Acworth parks and recreation, which runs the program, said it will also be his first trip to New York. Albright, city Alderman Tim Houston and Lauren Ham, the city’s special populations coordinator, will accompany the students.
“Our benefactor charged us six years ago to come up with a program that changed children’s lives,” Albright said. “It gives kids an opportunity that they may not otherwise get without this program.”
The city works with local schools to select students for the program. About 80 students participate in the traditional, monthly trip program to local sights. The 12 students going to New York are also involved in the Acworth Achievers program.
Expanding Horizons is financed by an anonymous family that has been donating money for six years. The family this year donated $15,000 for the New York trip and another $15,000 toward the monthly trips during the school year.
“We’re about seven years down the road and over $300,000 of investments into the children in our community through this very special foundation,” Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood said. “They want to remain anonymous, but it is a family trust that is implemented by brothers of this family and they’re just very, very philanthropic.”
The Expanding Horizons program has been so successful that it spawned the Acworth Achievers Mentoring and After School Program that works with middle and high schools students twice at week at the Roberts School.
For more information about Expanding Horizons or to volunteer, contact Frank White at email@example.com.