Collage of MAAP students touring

MAAP Fieldtrip

Over spring break, 15 students in the Mercy Academic Achievement Program (MAAP) took an epic journey to Los Angeles to tour the UCLA Campus and visit the Museum of Tolerance. MAAP is a middle school program that increases higher education opportunities for young people living in Marina Vista and Alder Grove. Sacramento-based staff Felicia and Ashlei organized a meaningful, action-packed day.

In order to squeeze in a full day in Los Angeles, the group left Sacramento in the very early morning, landing in LAX at 8:30 a.m. They were sleepy, but also excited, because this was the first time on a plane for many of them.

The group’s first stop was the Museum of Tolerance where students participated in a three hour immersive and interactive tour about genocide and the Holocaust. The exhibits are designed to not only teach the history, but also to make connections to current political events. At the end of the tour, visitors are invited to consider the effect of personal responsibility and decision making.

After the museum, the group continued on to the UCLA Campus, where they met a current UCLA student, Tommy. Although Tommy was born in California, his parents were immigrants who were deported back to Mexico. Tommy decided to stay in California, but struggled and then dropped out of high school. He ultimately got his GED, joined the military, attended community college, and is now at UCLA getting his degree in social work. His testimony was very moving as he spoke of the difficulty of meeting each goal and the challenges of being a minority student on campus.

Collage of MAAP students on beach

Following lunch, a student named Alexis led the group on a campus tour which was designed specifically from and for the perspective of people of color. They learned about the rich, and sometimes challenging, history of the campus. Alexis also took the group to specific buildings on campus that offer tutoring and mentorship services to students. She told them about free summer programs designed for students who did not have access to college prep classes that would bring them up to speed. The kids were pretty amazed that Alexis lived in a ‘mansion’ with 50 of her sisters.

On the way back to the airport, the kids had a surprise stop at the Santa Monica Beach. Many of the children had never seen the ocean or been to the beach before. They were surprised about the feeling of sand between their toes! It was an unforgettable end to an incredible day.