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Cultivating Tomorrow’s Leaders: Meet Growing4ward's Carlos Walton

Carlos Walton
Carlos Walton of Growing4ward

According to The Postsecondary National Policy Institute, between 2009 and 2019, the number of Black undergraduates who enrolled right after high school decreased from 2.5 million students to 2.1 million. History has shown that a college degree doesn’t guarantee success in life but people with higher education are less likely to live below the poverty line. Carlos Walton, founder and executive director of youth development initiative Growing4ward Incorporated, is providing a platform to keep young adults focused on higher learning and breaking the generational curse of poverty.

We focus on college tours. I've been doing this for over 20 years. An annual seven day college tour, which goes from New York, New Jersey to Baltimore, DC, Virginia, North Carolina and Atlanta. We see 10 historically Black colleges. I'm a product at Hampton University myself, so a strong advocate of HBCUs and actually working on my doctorate right now. My dissertation is focused on HBCUs and black men matriculation.

Mr Walton understands that college is more than academics. In addition to the tour, there is a series of workshops and events that prepare young adults for life and the next level of schooling.

Brothers and sisters on a bus chaperone with some young brothers and sisters. We got the Wisdom, we got the discussions, we have the information, we go to Howard’s campus and got to open mic because Howard has that vibe, the Mecca. Then we go to North Carolina A&T And they have a big beautiful campus so we have a field day so they can understand that there's a social aspect to college. There's a social aspect of interaction that exists and you need to be prepared for that as well. Because a lot of people go away to school and get caught up at the same time. Just as much as you are responsible for your academics in college. You are just responsible for your social behavior in college.

The Growing 4ward college tour isn’t a spectator sport. Students walk onto multiple campuses prepared to impress the admissions offices.

Because young people are applying on the spot, but you gotta understand. We take full advantage everything. So we get to these campuses, right up in his admission offices, they are very prepared with their Growing 4ward packet, SATs, transcripts, letters of recommendation, that usual stuff. But then in addition certificates you’ve received, the community service you've done, the extra efforts you've done as a young person, as a community person and as a student. So all of that builds up your portfolio you know, we compare it to a comp car for a model. You know, the models have everything from swimwear, to athletic wear to evening wear. But these young people have to show their versatility and show where they're strong. Not just as an academic student, but as a young person,

Mr. Walton also produces an initiative which takes young men to Washington DC for the Congressional Black Caucus annual legislative conference

They have workshops on on handshakes and elevator pitches, they have workshops on the history of the caucus. And we have workshops on the power of leadership and politics and entering that world. So when they get down to DC, I'm in a well versed and we got into shooting ties, the networking, the experience is something different, you know, the activity badges feeling really important because to get in the caucus, you have to have your badge with your name on it. And yeah, they take full advantage of all that it offers and it offers a lot the caucus is a powerful, powerful thing that I think more students and more of us need to be present for this wonderful networking platform.

Although Carlos is an advocate for students attending college, he knows that all high school graduates will not go by choice or circumstance. Furthermore, he admits that college isn’t the only pathway to success.

A lot of people that come from I come off my college tours, they don't go to college. Some of them come home and they just get super serious. Some of them come home and start looking at opportunities in a way they never looked at opportunities before. So come home and go to local schools but now they’re going to school with a different type of drive.

To donate or get information on the next college tour, visit here.