HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — “I’ve never been to Florida, so it’s exciting,” said Alecia Hall, a member of a group that recently left Tweed-New Haven Airport for a four-day trip with three components: fun, volunteerism, and adventure.
This 19-year-old, who calls herself “a DCF kid”, is particularly excited about the fun!
“I have to say, I’m looking forward to Disneyland because I’ve never been, so, that’s really exciting,” she said.
It’s an adventure hosted by SUN Scholars Inc. The non-profit, which stands for “succeed, uplift and nurture,” partners with the Department of Children and Families to guide young adults in the foster-adopt system through education.
“They really helped me find my identity, who I am as an Asian-American person,” said 24-year-old Tyler Fabian who was adopted internationally. He worked with SUN Scholars during his time at CCSU and now works for the non-profit.
“A lot of them, this is their first time out of Connecticut, so, it’s just really special we get to be a part of their first time out of Connecticut,” said Executive Director Chris Scott.
The fund was created after the tragic loss of two brothers who were adopted.
“This is one of the ways we get to say, ‘Alright, we don’t know why this happened but let’s make some sense out of it and try to find some silver lining,’ and really use this as a moment to celebrate life,” said Scott.
$70,000 has been raised by the fund, founded by Nora and Tom Dudchik, host of News 8’s Capitol Report.
Robert was a flight attendant with Avelo Airlines which is flying the group to Florida for free.
A spokesperson said, in part, “The SUN Memorial Fund is an exceptional way to honor Robert and his brother’s legacy.”
“We really wanted this trip to celebrate what travel can bring to somebody. To realize how interconnected the world is,” added Scott.
Hall, who attends Three Rivers Community College and is studying to become a nurse, said the non-profit is making a huge difference in her life.
In Florida, the group will think of Anthony and Robert, every step of the way.
“It’s really upsetting that we lost them but to remember them in this way I think it’s incredible and amazing,” said Hall.
The group returns home on Sunday. SUN Scholars plans to organize a similar trip each year.