AGILE college tour in University of Mankato March 30, 2011
The Minnesota African Women's Association, MAWA, will be conducting its second 3-day overnight college tour to schools in St. Cloud, Collegeville and Duluth (MN) and Fargo (ND) from Sunday March 25 to Wednesday March 28, 2012. Thirty African girls accompanied by six adult chaperones will tour colleges in these cities and meet with admissions and financial aid personnel. Members of the African Students Associations in these colleges will also meet participants and answer their questions about the school and student life. Stemming from the first successful college tour of last year, this year's college tour will have a new group of seniors and juniors and visit a new set of schools as well. All selected colleges have great diversity and a good representation of African students. Participants this year are better equipped to address financial aid issues having completed a course on financial literacy funded by the Office of Higher Education through their Financial Literacy for College Attendance grant.
The Amakolo African Girls college tour is unique in that all participants are African immigrant and refugee girls - and thus overcoming certain barriers to African girls' school success - need for gender-based groups, totally free of charge to the girls, complete comfort and confidence in voicing any concerns without feeling embarrassed about their accents or proficiency in English because everyone around is new to the US, etc. It is also the result of the expressed wish of the AGILE participants to visit colleges where they know there is a good representation of African students and would consider attending themselves ((African Girls Initiative for Leadership & Empowerment program, MAWA's 7-year old after-school program run in six schools and three community sites across the Twin Cities metro). Interpreters will also be among the chaperones for the benefit of our newly arrived refugee participants with limited English Proficiency, thanks to generous funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement for African refugee girls new to the US.
With the remarkable success of last year's College Attendance program which led to all of AGILE's 17 seniors going to college and some scholarships, the current participants are very optimistic about their chances to improve their American experience by furthering their education. This college tour is provided completely free of charge to the participants, thanks to the generosity of our funders mentioned earlier as well as the Altrusa Club of St. Paul, Carolyn Foundation, Karen Viskochil Fund, Ripley Foundation, WCA Foundation and Westminster Presbyterian Church. St. Paul Foundation, Otto Bremer Foundation are among MAWA's other funders.
Participants' parents also receive financial literacy education through workshops with MAWA staff and financial literacy educators. The next such workshop will be held on March 17, 2012 in the Brooklyn Park area for parents of our participants in our New Hope, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park school and community sites. Dates for the Minneapolis and St. Paul sites will be announced later with additional sessions in the summer.
Participants will be visiting St. Cloud State University, College of St. Benedict, St. John's University, Moorhead State University, North Dakota State University and the University of MN Duluth.
*MAWA's College Attendance Program is specifically tailored to newly arrived immigrant and refugee African girls and addresses all the cultural and other barriers they encounter in learning more about the American system of education as well as explaining all college attendance related information in terms they and their parents will understand. Visits to Twin Cities' colleges are carried out each trimester. MAWA is a 10-year old community based non-profit organization with various awards for its work for the advancement of African women and girls including the African Awards Non-Profit of the Year 2011.