By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – More than just paying for food, they’re paying it forward at a Voice of the Youth fundraiser Saturday.  The mentor and leadership program in Sacramento is selling soul food with all the money helping kids get a closer look at college life.

“We can always provide more funds for our young people. It’s not just asking for money it’s asking to pour into our future,” said VOY mentor and advocate, Tyler McClure.

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Since 2013, they’ve exposed kids to a college experience with culture in mind by touring historical black colleges around the country.

“We don’t live in a world where their heritage and their culture is put on a pedestal for them to enjoy and embrace their culture. Usually, it’s being talked down upon,” said McClure.

“I think that a lot of our young people — they don’t see enough of themselves when they’re here in California. And going outside of the state, especially down south, you’re going to see so much culture. And I think you’ll be able to connect with your heritage a lot more,” said VOY advocate Berry Accius.

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This year, 10 high schoolers from around Sacramento will visit schools in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia as well as SoCal colleges.

“Just being around people that I can relate to going to an HBCU. I’ve always wanted to go to an HBCU. It’s going to be an experience,” said student Tyncere Jenkins.

It’s an experience with an opportunity of a lifetime. 85% of those who’ve attended the VOY college tour have gone on to attend college and graduate.

“People are stuck so much in the state that they’re from that they don’t get to go out and experience the world for what it is and other states. So I’m basically just looking for an opportunity,” said student Brian Buchanan Jr.

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The VOY major fundraiser will be on April 9 for the Crab Festival.  After COVID canceled the big fundraiser for two years, they’re excited to hold it this year.  You can purchase tickets online.