It wasn't just the tour of the Capitol or walk by the White House or visit to the Smithsonian that thrilled the kids from the Boyz2Men Mentoring Program.
Simply driving from Champaign to Washington, D.C., for a few days over spring break was pretty cool, too.
"A lot of these kids haven't been anywhere," program coordinator WAYNE TURNER said. "We went through, what, five or six states? Just seeing the country like that made it worth it."
In December, we wrote of Boyz2Men's ambitious goal: Raise enough money to take a handful of C-U teens to the nation's capital.
In March, it happened. Turner and eight mentors joined 14 junior high and high school students on a trip none of them will forget.
Thanks to DAVID NORTHERN of the Housing Authority of Champaign County and U.S. Rep. RODNEY DAVIS, R-Taylorville, the three-day itinerary included a look inside the congressman's office. Most impactful was a visit to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, where the casket of EMMETT TILL was on display. Till, a 14-year-old African American from Chicago, was murdered in 1955 while on vacation in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman.
The kids were still talking about it at the group's weekly mentoring session the following Tuesday in Champaign, "because he was their age," Turner said, "and because why he was (killed)."
How much will the trip have an impact on those who went?
"Time will tell," Turner said. "Hopefully, this will rub off on somebody, and some day they'll possibly do the same thing for somebody else."