An Open Letter
to the Parent and Students That Registered for the College Tour
Thank you for your interest and trust you have placed with Ride for CHANGE Ride for HOPE Foundation to provide your child/student with a college tour experience.
Our mission is to increase and expand the amount of college tours departing Chicago in route to historically black colleges and universities.
As you already know, the college tour to Howard University and Morgan State University with a stop at the King Memorial has been postponed.
We felt a need to postpone the previous tour effort which yielded 88 pre-registrants, 27 registration applications submitted, 19 commitments and 12 fully paid participants.
It is unfortunate that we did not have a chance to match sponsors with students with the time allowed. We exhausted every opportunity to overcome setbacks that were beyond our control.
We went from downsizing the motorcoach to a minicoach until it became cost prohibitive to continue when we were informed payment for students who had been sponsored by their school was not forthcoming due to the administrator’s absence. Things happen.
Driving the remaining students ourselves who had paid-in-full was the final option.
In retrospect, the image of having to tell parents and students that they could not participate in the college tour because of financial reasons can be likened to informing someone on a sinking ship that there is no room for them in the life boat.
Upon making the decision to postpone the tour, we immediately began the process of refunding fees paid. We are glad we made that decision.
The fact is many of our students can not afford a college tour experience. In the past, prior to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 over 80% of Chicago Public Schools students received free or reduced lunch.
As a community, if we value the opportunity to expose our youth to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it is our obligation to advocate on their behalf and help them where we can. We are committed to this cause and will endeavor to implement ways to be more effective.
Looking back, we had a good turnout at the Ride for CHANGE Ride for HOPE College Tour Parent Orientation meeting where the founder, Terry Hardy spoke about the hope he seeks to inspire in our youth, synergy and support from community members to aid our students’ pursuit of a post-secondary education, the history of his affiliation with Rev. Jackson's PUSH Excel College Tour, the role he is encouraging the motorcycle community to have to help reverse negative trends and the success he has experienced in supporting students by connecting them to full scholarships at HBCUs. He touched on his career experience as a commercial coatings engineer, the image of the motorcycle community he is working to adjust, his work with the King Center for Non Violent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia on the issue of violence, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans, his remarks at the White House Conference on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and more.
Mr. Hardy is also the president of the South Shore High School Alumni Association with an esteemed group of notable alumni.
His work with civic education and engagement are also worthy of consideration.
It is clear that he has a sincere interest in helping our communities. His ideas and opportunities have been vetted by many including the past governor, current mayor, the city of Chicago Black Caucus, Illinois senate and state representatives and most recently the former United States Secretary of Education, current representatives of President Obama's administration. All are available for examination in the public domain.
What will make this concept of community collaboration on the issue of increasing access to HBCU work is you. That’s why we penned the slogan, “The People’s Tour”.
In summary, encouraging a paradigm shift on the perceived value of education stemming from minority communities is our main objective. Ms. Ivy said it best, “We have to keep fighting for our children”.
You have an opportunity to be a part of something great for our students, city and nation.
Since October 29th, more schools, students and parents have expressed an interest in the Ride for CHANGE Ride for HOPE College Tour with the aim to increase exposure to HBCUs. We are grateful for the attention and support this effort is beginning to produce.
Ride for CHANGE Ride for HOPE derives from an event that tells a story about America’s history that says despite our challenges we have always founds ways to move the nation forward. The problems we face are not problems at all, but opportunities to find a solution. We are the solution when we are working together.
Plans are being made at this moment to reschedule the tour.
A survey follows this letter to gauge your interest in participating further.
Yours in service,
Ride for CHANGE Ride for HOPE Foundation
"I chose this path because of what I saw happening in my community. I did not like it. I sought to steer the community toward social and cultural reconciliation through raising awareness, education and workforce development, not because I am the most qualified but because I have the will to make the sacrifices and try to do so. I apologize once again if I have dissapointed you in pursuit of accompishing the above mission."
-Terry Hardy, Founder