Over the summer, Raphael House staff took eight teens from our Saturday Tutoring Club to Southern California to visit colleges and cultural sites, as a reward for their intensive academic work during the past school year. With the teens preparing to embark on the college planning process, this trip allowed them to explore some college programs and learn about life on a college campus. For the younger teens, who are just starting to think about their plans for the future, it was a great opportunity to educate them on the steps involved in selecting and applying to colleges. The summer trip for our teens who participate in our Saturday Tutoring Club is an annual tradition. The group decides together where they would like to go, and they select colleges based on the majors that interest them. We incorporate visits to cultural sites with the college tours. This year we visited the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, and UC San Diego, where the teens enjoyed an overnight stay on campus. Along the way, we visited the Griffith Observatory with its magnetic pendulum and many astronomic exhibits and took photos of the nearby Hollywood sign. In the evening we went to Venice Beach where the teens played volleyball and soccer, relishing the coolness after dark. A visit to Legoland, also by request, proved to be more a nostalgic trip from younger days than a current teen thrill, but everyone got in the spirit and a fun time was had by all. The teens ended their trip with a game of barefoot soccer on a field at UC San Diego and returned refreshed and inspired for another year of academic work to get them closer to their college goals.
—Ralitza Doynova, Family Services Manager