CHICAGO (WLS) -- Dozens of Chicago Public School students boarded a bus Sunday, bound for countless possibilities.
"This trip is one of those trips, it changes the trajectory for a lifetime," said DeKevious Wilson, regional manager and co-director for the college tour, "Becoming A Man."
Latrell Cowley is a senior at Wendell Phillips Academy High School. He said, before he joined the Chicago mentorship program "Become A Man," he lived a different life.
"At first, I wasn't going on trips with no one. I was just going to class, going to class," he said.
Now, Cowley and about 70 other CPS students are on the road with people they've just met to spend their spring break touring southern colleges.
"I get to go to places I've never been," Cowley said.
The trip includes six historically black colleges and universities.
Some of the universities Cowley has already applied to and has been accepted at.
"I get to go to colleges that I always dreamed of going to," he said.
For Cowley and others, this collegiate tour is the journey of a lifetime.
"A lot of them only know their block. A lot of them have not been downtown before let alone out of the state -- going to multiple states," Wilson said.
The BAM Mentorship Program has organized this annual road trip since 2015, however, this is the first time the tour is back since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is the year that we're back on the road and I am so excited because they literally get to see other parts of this world that they never probably would have saw if it wasn't for this program," Wilson said.
While traveling has been an exciting part of joining the program, for 14-year-old Matthew Lewis, he said BAM has helped him open up.
"I wouldn't talk to a lot of people that I talk to now. I wouldn't talk at all. This helps me talk to more people," said Lewis, who is an 8th grader at O'Keefe School.
The program and this trip is valued more for the meaning to those part of it.
"It inspires from the youngest to the oldest," Wilson said. "Sometimes you're the most consistent thing that these young men see day-to-day."
The mentors are receiving more than they give, and mentees, like Cowley, are on the road to living his dream.
"I can get out of my comfort zone, I can do whatever I want without no one judging who I am or not.
And it's fun to me," Cowley said.