Monday, July 14, 2008

Parents Support Students' Dreams of International Travel

Portia, age 15, Whitehead Boys & Girls Club

Your High School age child comes home and says that they have applied to a program that will take them to China. What do you say when you think of that same child being halfway around the world from you. How do you plan and prepare for such an experience? What do you celebrate? What do you worry about? Here exactly what the one group of parents did have to say to these and other questions when they were interviewed about their young people being accepted into The Beijing Program.

The journey of seven high school students to Beijing, China at the end of the 2008 school year actually began in December, 2007, when each young person was selected by individual clubs of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. In addition to being nominated by their individual clubs, interested students had to apply in writing and successfully complete an interview process with project leaders and staff.

The Youth Art Connection is a program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. Director Rebeca DesMarais provided the following description of The Beijing Program:
The Beijing Program includes an international children's art exhibition - "Peace, Goodwill and Friendship through the Olympic spirit"-, a trip to China in June, 2008, and the interaction with the Xi'an Terracotta Warrior at the High Museum of Art in fall/winter 2008-2009. International Paint Pals, a program of the Youth Art Connection and a part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta's Arts & Cultural Enrichment Program, is organizing the children's exhibition and is facilitating the overall Beijing Program. The trip to Beijing will coincide with the opening of the exhibition in Beijing, China on June 1, China's National Children's Day. Seven Boys & Girls club high school members have been selected to participate in The Program. The Beijing Program began in January, 2008 with monthly preparation meetings and extends into fall 2008 to coincide with the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition. On the June Trip, members will visit the ancient capitol of China, Xi'an, to the the terracotta Warriors firsthand and will then share their experiences with other Club members in the fall of 2008 as field trip "guides" on visits to the High Museum.

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