Barbara White serves as co-chair of the New York City Omega Black College Tour, ran by the Xi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. White takes college students on an annual tour to several historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), guiding them to their futures.
Along with volunteering for the college tour, White also takes the time to volunteer with youth in her community.
A native of Brooklyn and current resident of Long Island, White was one of six children raised by a single mother. She was asked by a relative of hers in Omega Psi Phi to help with the college tour, which has been going on for 25 years. White has worked with the tour for the last six years.
“As an adult, I was not aware of HBCUs,” she said. “Growing up in New York City, the high schools promote New York City schools for college. This peeked my interest when the tour was revamping, and I was asked to get involved.”
During the first year White was involved with the tour, she had 36 students who toured 12 schools. The second year, 52 students attended the tour, going to 17 schools. This year, White took 72 students on two buses to 17 schools.
White said, “The pride instilled in them is something you can’t take away. When you step your foot on an HBCU campus, there is a sense of pride.”
While on the tour, students also visit historical sites along the way, get on-the-spot admissions information and receive scholarships from many schools. White was recently featured on WABC 7’s “Here and Now” with Sandra Bookman.
“Children are our future, and if we don’t lift these young minds, what do we have look forward to?” White said. “What I really get out of it is the look on their faces. A lot of these children don’t leave the community. You can see the transition when they see that mirror image that they can do it to.”
Along with helping with the Omega Black College Tour, White also volunteers with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. For the last three years, she has served as volunteer coordinator for the Wall Street Project Economic Summit.
White recently accepted a volunteer position with Black Girls Code, an organization that fosters technology careers among Black girls. White also works with youth in her Long Island community.