PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A group of young men from our area will take off for a trip of a lifetime Wednesday. They're heading to West Africa as part of an education abroad experience.
Several boys left their homes in the U.S. Wednesday to learn about their roots in Africa with the help of two local pro athletes.
"I wore long clothes just in case it was cold on the plane, and I brought my blanket or whatever," said 14-year-old Rahim Gardner, of South Philadelphia. He was ready for his trip to Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa.
"Sometimes books don't explain the full thing," he explained. "But since I'm there, I can ask my own questions. I can really get them to elaborate in a way that I can understand it."
He left Wednesday as part of a group sent by the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the KB Foundation. The trip is funded with the help of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and Truist Bank.
"Well, you can't tell people what to do with their money," said Gardner's mother, Shana McSeed. "But I think there should be more people like Jalen Hurts with opportunities like that."
To help them prepare for their trip, the students were given a little taste of the Ivory Coast, where they're headed.
The rising 8th, 9th and 10th-grade students are part of the KB Foundation's.
It's the second year of the trip overseas. This year there are nine boys headed to Africa, up from four in 2022. Thirteen-year-old Faheem Moultrie, of South Philadelphia, is one of them. His friend went on the trip last year.
"He came back and gave me some like keychains and all that, bracelets, and stuff," Moultrie said. "So, I'm happy to come back and do that same thing for him."
The trip is also special to another local athlete. Sixers center Mo Bamba is from Côte d'Ivoire. The rising 8th, 9th and 10th-grade students are part of the KB Foundation's .
The purpose is to give students the opportunity to visit Africa and learn about the culture. Bamba talked to the boys about what to expect. Its purpose is to give the students the opportunity to visit Africa and learn about the culture.
Bamba held a meet-and-greet with the students earlier this year.recently announced his support of the program by funding the nine students' trip, including plane tickets, expenses for visas and other travel preparations needed.
"I mean, it's amazing for him to help us go back to where he's from, where his parents are from. And now, we're taking nine youths," foundation board member Percy Jones said.
Leaders say they hope this trip changes these boys and their neighbors.
"I was kind of tired of folks telling them the world is available to them, without them understanding what the world looks like," said foundation VP of Programming & Operations Justin Fishman.
"I hope it changes the community in ways that people want to put their resources together to provide options for young people," said foundation founder and CEO Kirk Berry.
The students will document their trip in journals given by Hurts. The students will be back home late next week.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article's headline mentioned the students were from Bala Cynwyd. It has since been corrected to reflect the students come from across the region.
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