Rickkay King is a college educated businessman who decided to use his passion for traveling and adventure to provide travel opportunities for young minority males through his Los Angeles based non-profit, Now Boarding Corporation.
The mission of Now Boarding is to increase the number of minority male youth studying abroad, and to allow high school students living in low-income areas, to become exposed and acclimated to traveling and cultural education, with no out-of-pocket expense. The program is composed of three tiers; travel education, cultural education, and study abroad education.
King, who is from Chicago, attended Clark Atlanta University as a psychology major. While in college, he participated in a study abroad program and took a trip to Barcelona, Spain. King says the trip changed his perception on life and opened him up to a new world.
“It was just interesting to be around this different environment, with different people, different climates, and to be able to experience it away from home; it gave me a sense of independence,” said King.
Shortly after graduating, King moved to California, where he began attending Pepperdine University for graduate school and working in the finance department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
After receiving his degree in psychology from Pepperdine, he left his regular nine-to-five job to do something more “meaningful” with his life.
“I started thinking, what I can do with the rest of my life that is going to make me happy and not be something I dread getting up to do in the morning. I sat down and started thinking about what I love to do,” said King.
King went on to express his love for traveling, through mentoring and advancing the Black community; thus founding the Now Boarding Corporation.
On May 11, the organization held a launch event at the Nickelodeon Studio in Burbank, California. The network also partnered with Now Boarding for the launch of the event. King hopes to launch the first travel abroad program in 2018. Once the organization reaches its’ fundraising goal, the first program and venture will begin with a trip to London.
King believes it is important to have organizations similar to Now Boarding in the Black community to help Black male youth expand their world view of possible career opportunities.
“You won’t know how far you can go in a career, you don’t even know what the career is that you have the potential for,” said King. “You like to draw, you may think the only thing you can be is a tattoo artist, and you haven’t even gotten to the scope that you can be a cartoonist working for Nickelodeon. Getting that exposure component to realizing there is a lot more that you can do with your future career, education, and yourself as a whole, that there is a lot more to see out there than what you are used to in your immediate circle.”
King encourages parents and students who are fearful and or uncertain about studying abroad to stop the negative thoughts before they formulate and to conduct research on their own.
“In our community, we have this stigma that traveling is a luxury and that mentality, that this is white people stuff,” said King. “A child hearing that does nothing but add to the limitations they set for themselves before they even get a chance to experience the world.”
King goes on to say it’s all about taking that leap of faith.
“Trust that everything will be okay and that this experience can do nothing but enhance your experience itself. Just do it,” said King.
For more information on Now Boarding Corp. or to donate, please visit www.nowboardingcorp.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org