Global Visionaries’ first culture night of the year was an opportunity for new U.S. participants in the Leadership Program to meet the other students on their team and experience open conversation.
The culture night was held on November 4 from 7-9pm. Students started out the night all together in the main hall at El Centro de La Raza’s building. During this time the GV staff and leaders were continually encouraging the students to meet new and different people.
“In order to come up against stereotypes, GV intends for students to get out of their comfort zones,” said Chris Fontana, Executive Director of GV.
“I have been privileged to experience first-hand the impact of GV,” said Reagan Jackson, GV program manager.
This past year Reagan Jackson has led three cultural immersion experiences– Spring, Summer, and Intensive. Reagan said that she has seen a shy kid who barely spoke breakdancing in Guatemala. “Kids lose apathy [and] start to feel after the visit to the garbage dump in Guatemala,” Reagan said. “GV is about providing these opportunities.”
“We give you the opportunity but the rest is up to you,” Reagan said. “You’re the ones who make the program what it is.”
A big part of the Leadership Program is the cultural immersion experience to Guatemala but contrary to what many may think the goal is not to help those in Guatemala but to work in solidarity with the Guatemalans.
Chelsea Dole from Nathan Hale High School is in the summer program this year. She said that she is most looking forward to the out of country experience because she has only been to Canada during elementary school. Chelsea is currently taking AP Spanish and is excited to be able to use that knowledge.
There are two groups of students in the Leadership Program—Spring and Summer—both consisting of 42 students from various Seattle high schools. In addition there are 33 students in the Intensive Program.
During culture night each of the groups meets with the seven Youth Board Leaders in Training. Those leaders in training direct the meetings by teaching the new program participants how to do a GV circle; a perfect circle where everybody is able to look each other in the eyes.
In addition to being required to attend all of the culture nights, GV participants are required to spend 30 hours volunteering locally. Three local work teams are available for the students to fulfill that requirement— restoring local habitats with EarthCorps; farming in Carnation, WA with Local Roots or working in the GV office.