BOSTON (CBS) – At least 10 students involved in a tour bus crash in Boston boarded another bus Sunday night bound for Philadelphia.
They were part of the organization Destined for a Dream, founded by former Olympic shot put hopeful Erica Waller-Hill.
“I went from throwing high to throwing what I used to throw in middle school, but all throughout that process I never gave up,” Waller-hill said about her performance after a back injury. “We decided to create Destined for a Dream foundation so that is where we empower and inspire youth through life coaching.”
As part of the program, students complete a 27 week ‘Dream Academy’ and then qualify to go on one of four college tours a year.
“Harvard University was our kickoff college tour and this happens,” she said.
The group toured Harvard, had pizza in Harvard Square and then boarded their bus home Saturday evening.
“We got on the bus at 7:15. We drove off at 7:25 and we crashed at 7:43,” Waller-Hill recalled. “It was just a boom and we were in that situation where things happen so quickly.”
She and other chaperones said they jumped into mother-father mode. The children, after all, were their responsibility.
“When we got out the kids they were just jumping and we were just catching and doing what we needed to do for their safety,” Waller-Hill said.
They told them to huddle up to stay warm.
“Get in groups and stay together. You know we grabbed blankets. We go into action and that is what destined for a dream is about,” she said.
Waller-Hill applauded emergency crews. Gregory Harris, Destined for a Dream Vice-President said the response was excellent after a crash that, he recalled, happened so fast.
“The sounds that I heard were a lot of crying a lot of screaming. The glass was broken, you know. It was a very tense time,” he said.
Harris and Waller-Hill suffered minor injuries, mainly back trauma and some bruises.
Neither Harris nor Waller-Hill would comment on the bus company or the driver.
“Sure we’ll have the planning of what went wrong and that kind of thing or how do we improve but that’s not right now,” he said.
Right now, their focus is on the students. They thank God that the aftermath wasn’t more severe.
“If you take a look at that bus, you know, we shouldn’t be here talking at all. So, I’m thankful that the kids I mean they’ve been so great during this adverse time,” Harris said.
Destined for a Dream raised money to get to Cambridge. Now, they’ll be working to raise donations to cover some of the costs associated with the crash.
It is a volunteer-based organization, that even with this tragedy, Waller-Hill says will push forward trying to improve young peoples’ lives.
“We will bounce back from this,” she told WBZ-TV. “We won’t stop. We’re here to continue to encourage and drive them and our biggest focus while we’re here and even beyond that has been the children.”
To read more about Destined for a Dream, go to www.destinedforadream.com.