Incoming college freshmen get set for campus move-in with CHA trunk party

The 12th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off” provides 175 college-bound students with dorm room essentials and a new laptop.

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Chicago Housing Authority residents who are bound for college receive laptops during the CHA’s 12th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off” at the United Center on Tuesday.

Chicago Housing Authority residents who are bound for college receive laptops during the CHA’s 12th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off” at the United Center on Tuesday.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Rosemary Perez will be the first person in her family to attend college when she heads to Benedictine University this fall.

Thanks to the Chicago Housing Authority’s “take flight college send-off” trunk party, the 19-year-old, who will be majoring in psychology, can cross a majority of dorm room essentials off her list.

“This was great because I didn’t know how I was going to get a lot of these things,” Perez said.

The 12th annual event, hosted by the CHA and its partner Springboard to Success, was held Tuesday at the United Center to support college-bound students living in public housing and give them some of the items they’ll need for college.

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CHA residents receive a laptop during the CHA and Springboard to Success’ 12th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off” at the United Center, where CHA residents received dorm supplies and a laptop to kickstart their college journey, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“At its core, it’s a celebration of kids from CHA housing embarking upon a major life milestone of going to college and their first step of adulting,” said Kristen Hamer, CHA’s director of corporate and external partnerships.

In its earlier years, the send-off event hosted only about 30 to 40 college-bound students who lived in CHA buildings. But this year, 175 students were provided with dorm essentials such as towels, bed sheets and a shower caddy, and they also got new laptops.

“It feels really nice to be able to have the support of the CHA, especially considering that it’s been very hard to get into college,” Aoloni Fisher said.

Fisher, 18, will be attending Dominican University, where she plans to major in psychology. She said while she is a little nervous about starting college, she looks forward to having fun.

Angelina Romero, a board member of Springboard to Success, said being able to host the event in the United Center gave the students the opportunity to bring more of their family members to celebrate with them, as there were capacity restrictions before.

Marcus Casul, who will attend Illinois State University to study criminal justice, was happy he will not have to stress over getting dorm items for his move there in the coming weeks.

“It’s a blessing,” the 18-year-old said. “I’m glad that they helped me with this because it takes a lot off my shoulders not having to spend extra money on these things.”

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A CHA resident who is headed to college receives dorm supplies during CHA and Springboard to Success’ 12th annual “Take Flight College Send-Off” at the United Center, where CHA residents received dorm supplies and a laptop to kickstart their college journey, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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