Illinois state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, recently accompanied 100 Chicago high school seniors to Talladega College in Alabama and all of them were accepted to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities school.

Their bus pulled up to Chicago’s Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church April 6, after the two-day trip that was meant to expose the at-risk youth to other opportunities. The trip was coordinated by Community Recovery Network.

“It is an honor to join Community Recovery Network and over 100 Chicago Public Schools seniors to tour Alabama’s oldest HBCU,” said Ford. “With the record number of school closures and huge disparities in the numbers of African Americans being accepted to four-year colleges when compared to other ethnic and racial groups, it was great to be part of having students see what options are open to them.”

Community Recovery Network is a community organization focused on connecting disadvantaged families and youth with opportunities to excel and a voice to make a difference. This year’s tour was their 2nd annual one.

“Our goal is to overshadow the negativity and violence that is plaguing our communities with the love and grace of a Higher Power, and uniting communities to empower and inspire our future leaders,” said Community Recovery Network Executive Director Hedy Ellison.

“It was great to meet with President Dr. Billy Hawkins of Talladega College, and it was exciting to hear the president’s commitment to meet the needs of the families in Illinois and increase college enrollment to help reduce the college enrollment disparities we see for African Americans in Chicago,” said Ford. “We are excited that over 100 Chicago students from the West and South Sides of Chicago celebrated the end of the tour with a letter of acceptance to Talladega College, and 9 students received the Presidential Scholarship for a full ride.”

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