SJF Foundation prepares for a college road trip

LIMA — The sunny states of North Carolina and Florida will soon be seeing more than 40 young adults from the Lima area as they tour four historically Black colleges/universities.

The Smith-Jones Family Foundation is headed back on the road for its annual Lima Educational Field Trip. The tour will be held October 12-16, giving students the opportunity of a lifetime to engage in the college experience. Students will visit North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, Bethune Cookman University and Edward Waters University.

As we have seen even in movies like ‘College Road Trip’ (a comedic portrayal of a father taking his daughter to his college of choice), visiting a college campus can be a monumental experience that paves the way for a student’s future.

The SJF Foundation began in 2018 when local community members decided to be the change they wanted to see in youth across the City of Lima.

“The foundation started in 2018. As a former educator, I have always been a big supporter of education,” said Londell Smith, spokesman for the SJF Foundation. “We are having our third annual Lima Educational Field Trip. Since 2018, we have given over $23,000 in book scholarships.

“This is our way of getting kids on campus. I want to give a shoutout to Charles Brown. He was our former principal at Lima Senior. He used to do these trips and we just reborn it. Out of the trips, he would orchestrate a lot of kids who graduated. We said instead of reinventing the wheel let’s do it again,” said Smith.

Former participants of the program will assist along the journey as students.

“We have students at three of the four schools we are attending,” added Smith. “They will be leading the tour and showing them around. This allows students to see their peers, individuals who were in high school just a couple of years ago who are now finding success and encouraging other youth.

“A lot of people in our workforce are retreating. Many jobs in this community will require a college degree. We believe that we are in the process of working with tomorrow’s engineers’ accounts, HR managers and other professionals. We are taking it upon ourselves to make sure students get through school, not just to school,” he said.

Registration is still open for eighth-grade through high school senior students from any school. The tour costs $550. Scholarships and payment plans are available. Students will not only get the chance to tour the campuses but also to experience an HBSU football game and take part in a beach day. The fee will also include roundtrip charter bus transportation, hotel stays, meals and activities while visiting.

To register contact the SJF Foundation at 419-236-8947 or by email at [email protected]

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