From DC to Atlanta, Two Students’ Experiences from Martha’s Table’s Global Passport Program

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From DC to Atlanta, Two Students’ Experiences from Martha’s Table’s Global Passport Program

In the heart of Washington, DC’s Ward 8, two remarkable teenagers, Jeremiah and Robert Walker, are rewriting their narratives through the lens of travel and new experiences. At just 16 and 17 years old, these youths are breaking free from the constraints of their everyday environment, exploring new horizons with the help of Martha’s Table’s Global Passport program.

About Global Passport:

The Global Passport Program is a new initiative at Martha’s Table to expand programming to older youth in Wards 7 & 8. This program is for high school-aged youth to travel both domestically and internationally to gain new experiences, perspectives, and culture. In April 2023, Martha’s Table took 20 youth to Atlanta, GA for a Civil Rights tour and has since taken more to Atlanta, GA and New York City, NY. 

Martha’s Table is offering a no-cost travel experience to Philadelphia, PA, for youths aged 14 to 19 from zip codes 20020-20032, from February 15 to 18, with visits to notable sites, including Temple University and the Philadelphia Art Museum. The trip application is currently open and will close on January 15. Apply here today


Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Jeremiah Walker. I live in Ward 8 in Washington, DC and I’m 16 years old. I’m an independent artist and like being active, playing pretty much any sport. My favorites are football and basketball.

How did you get connected with Martha’s Table?
My mentor, Ms. LaShawn, is with Friends of Anacostia and wanted to show me something better than what she saw me doing. She introduced me to Martha’s Table and I applied for the Global Passport program because I thought to myself I don’t want to keep being down here in DC seeing the same stuff every day. I want to see something different, go see the world for real so that’s why I applied.

Have you been on a plane before?
We went to Atlanta and this was my first time on a plane. It was scary but other people were more scared than me, so I couldn’t even really be that scared.  

What were some of your favorite activities and moments?
My favorite activity during the trip was when we went to Morehouse College and some of the students were telling us what their experience was like when they first came to college and how much they got going for them. 

My favorite part was just chillin’ with everybody, getting to know new people, and seeing how everybody was happy around each other. People don’t know this but around the DC area, most people don’t get along just off certain things and in Atlanta I saw different people from different areas get along so well. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever seen, I ain’t gonna lie.

What advice would you give other teens thinking about traveling somewhere new?
The advice I’d give to other teens about going somewhere new is just to take advantage of what is offered because the opportunities that you have right now, they’re not always gonna last forever. So you might as well take the opportunity now before it’s too late. This program is important because if you get all the teens in our area to think the same way that y’all got me to think, we could stop gun violence in DC easily. I can promise that.

What country do you want to travel to?
If I had the chance to travel internationally, I would go to Dubai or England. I want to try fish and chips.



Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Robert Walker; I’m 17 years old and go to Kingsman Academy. I like to do music. I like to sing. I’m a Pisces. I like football. I like basketball. I would like to say that I am special in some type of way but I just don’t know.

How did you get connected with Martha’s Table?
I was at the gas station and would ask people if I could pump people’s gas and stuff like that just to try me a couple of dollars. Ms. LaShawn, from Friends of Anacostia, was like, “What are you doing right here?” She didn’t want us at the gas station. She told us about Martha’s Table and about how she wanted us to see new things about life instead of just being in the hood.

Before Martha’s Table, Ms. LaShawn would help us. She gave us clothes and money to make sure that we didn’t go back down to the gas station or anything like that. She always looked out for us. She took me out bowling on my birthday; she took me out to eat and stuff like that. And just spending time with us.

I was looking forward to the [Global Passport] trip because I was just looking for a better lifestyle, just to find something different. And I guess God had sent me something different so I could pretty much say if it wasn’t for Ms. LaShawn, I wouldn’t even be here right now. So I’m thanking her so much because she actually changed my life.

Have you been on a plane before?
This was my first time on a plane. We got on the plane and it went fast. As we were driving in and stuff the plane got lifted up. It’s kinda like let’s say you’re in a car and then you’re going up a hill and then you go down you feel it in your stomach? The turbulence, oh my god. I felt like the plane was about to drop. I wasn’t really that scared. I was doing good and I went to sleep peacefully. 

What were some of your favorite activities and moments?
We went to the train station and got on the train. We hopped off to see the big buildings. I was like ‘oh yeah, we are in Atlanta’. Yeah. This is crazy. So my first time in Atlanta was like I was a superstar because I am bringing my DC mentality to a place where I’m not from.

What impact did the trip have on you?
To me the purpose of the Global Passport program is to put hope in kids like me. I wouldn’t say I’m in ‘the hood’ but I know I’ve been through some stuff, and it wasn’t my fault. It was just that I was in the wrong place, wrong time but I live in a troubled neighborhood so I know it’s going to come to me regardless. I feel that [the Global Passport program] is helping me get out of my situation, because it’s helping me look at things differently, to give me motivation and stuff. I would like to keep going on trips because it just gave me a different mindset for when I do come back. 

I think these trips are important because I know if this changed my perspective, it could change my friends’ perspective or anybody else’s perspective. My brothers and I were able to talk to other youth about violence on the news for the trip. I’m not embarrassed to speak up because I feel like I’ve been through so much and people always told me like you can’t be scared to show your fear; people are gonna look at you regardless. I don’t know what else was gonna get me out the hood because it was like my life was going downward. So when I got this opportunity, and was talking to the mayor and being on TV and stuff like that. I’m like, ‘oh yeah, this is my opportunity’.

What advice would you give other teens thinking about traveling somewhere new?
Advice I’d give other teens going somewhere new with a different culture is to just be yourself and chill. Be respectful and try not to cuss. Also to keep pushing, keep striving because maybe God is gonna have something good for you. 

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