Central Falls Students Head to D.C. with Hopes to 'Change the World'
By: Scott Cook
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WLNE) -- A bus full of 16 students pulled up to Central Falls High School Monday morning at 8 am sharp.
But on spring break, these students weren't headed to class.
They're headed to Washington D.C. to learn about things that aren't taught in the classroom.
"I'm looking forward to getting a lot of leadership experience," said Rogelio Gomez, a student at Central Falls.
"I'm really excited to learn how to lobby," said student, Dakota. "There are not a lot of lady lobbyists out there so I am hoping I can learn to lobby."
"I'm excited to go see congress and to go to museums," said a student named Abdiel. "We are also going to go to universities and take tours and it is going to be a really good experience."
The students are part of an after-school program called 'How to Change the World.'
They founded the program themselves with the help of their teacher, Seth Kolker.
Their goal is to allow young leaders to study avenues for creating change on a local and national scale.
"I firmly believe students from Central Falls are going to change the world," said teacher, Seth Kolker. "It's been a huge privilege to get to share this sort of experience with them and make that more possible and help them figure out how that is going to look."
The group raised nearly $11,000 to pay for their trip.
"The students really led the charge," said Kolker. "There was a GoFundMe campaign, they made public presentations over at Navigant Credit Union."
By stepping out of their comfort zones and presenting to the community, the students were able to surpass their fund raising goal.
"It was a little nerve–wracking, but it was really fun actually!" said student Jasmine Rios.
There was even a generous donation of $2,000 dollars from Central Falls native, Viola Davis.
The group will stay with host families in Arlington, Virginia.
They are scheduled to meet members of congress, activists, and lobbyists who are currently using their skills to change the world.
When they return home in one week, they plan to utilize their new skills and experiences to promote change in their own communities.
"I knew they would do it. So I'm not surprised, but I'm incredibly proud," said Kolker.
The students hope to keep their organization alive and make another trip next year.