Category Archives: News

Voices of Visionaries : Richard

“After having gone on the program and the trip, whenever I go walk around in Seattle, I notice things that I wouldn’t have usually noticed. I could be walking down the street, and I could see homeless people in a whole other view. I feel like there’s this system of inequality in everything. Before, I would have not seen that. I would’ve just seen a homeless person asking for money. I feel like I have the power to impact the world and that I should strive to do that”



I’m a high school junior and I serve on the Global Visionaries (GV) Youth Board. Specifically, I’m an immersion leader. I go down to Guatemala as a resource and role model for the first-year participants. When I went to Guatemala as a first-year participant,I watched myself and everyone around me grow, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that again.My leadership role now is very meaningful to me. I try my best to be a source of knowledge and a good role model for the new participants It’s a lot of pressure to always demonstrate the right things to do, but that’s what leadership means to me.

I was so shy when I joined GV. I remember attending my first GV Culture Night and just standing alone in a corner because I was afraid to let other people see who I really was. Slowly I started to take to heart GV’s mantra, which is to get out of your comfort zone, and I began to be myself, which allowed me to get close to the other participants. Now I bring so much more confidence to every activity I do, whether it’s wrestling, math class, or just interacting with new people.

After experiencing the program, I started noticing things I wouldn’t have noticed before. I might see a homeless person while walking down the street. Before, I would have just seen someone asking me for money. Now I recognize a whole system of inequality and it prompts me to think about how I can make a positive impact. The old me might have put a few coins in the cup and then forgotten about it. But now I feel that I absolutely have to take it further and do my part to change the world.

I was a recipient of a scholarship, and that was a huge decision factor for me. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to join GV and go to Guatemala. The support of the donors let me have this incredible experience. It’s been so eye-opening for me, and I’m forever indebted to the people who helped me in this personal transformation.  Thank you.

GV Youth Board – Immersion Leader.


Voices of Visionaries: Audrey

“Getting real world experience has been transformational in my life and will help me throughout college and my future career.”

In one word, what do you feel now you have been part of GV?


When I first heard about Global Visionaries (GV), I was impressed by its philosophy. GV sees the potential that we have as youth and empowers us to change the world. The scope of its projects also really attracted me. There are opportunities to work in the hospital,Audrey build schools, work on coffee farms, or help with reforestation efforts. I knew being part of GV was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I feel like I’m making a real impact on people lives—from guiding the first-year participants to working at the hospital

in Antigua. Even the real-world experience I’ve gotten from working in the office has been transformational.I think what excites me the most is being able to work with the first-year participants. I want them to be able to experience a little piece of what I did. Coming to GV’s Culture Nights helped me have a safe place to just be myself and let down my defenses that I had in high school. I had a difficult time finding a core group of friends at school, but with the other GV students, I found we were all going through the same things and we really connected. So now as a gap year student, I can help recreate that environment. And I’ll get to see Guatemala through their eyes, as they have the same opportunities that I did, from their homestays and cultural immersion to working at the hospital and learning Spanish.

There are plenty of stereotypes about teenagers being lazy and apathetic. But GV gives youth the tools and vocabulary to impact the world, big or small, from Guatemala to Seattle. I love working, being on-the-go. Working with GV reminds me to give back to my community, and shows me that volunteering makes a real positive impact on people’s lives.

I thank the donors with all my heart, as I did receive a scholarship, without which I wouldn’t have been able to participate in the program. This little organization has transformed me. I’ll look back at this experience twenty years from now and be so grateful that I took this opportunity. It’s been an amazing experience.

2012-13 First Year Leadership Program
2013-14 Youth Board
2014-15 Gap Year

Seattle’s First Ambassador Jozlyn Pelk Visits GV in Guatemala

(Left to right) Aurelio Hernandez (GV Staff), Mario Perez (Mayor), Jozlyn Pelk, Translator  (Front left to right) Patricia (Youth 2013), Claudia (GV staff), Sandra (GV staff)
(Left to right) Aurelio Hernandez (GV Staff), Mario Perez (Mayor), Jozlyn Pelk, Translator
(Front left to right) Patricia (Youth Leader), Claudia (GV staff), Sandra (GV staff)

Last Wednesday, Jozlyn Pelk, the first Seattle Ambassador, visited Global Visonaries during her week-long trip to Guatemala, where she met with the mayor of Santa Maria de Jesus, Mario Perez; recent GV Youth Leader Patricia; as well as GV staff Aurelio, Claudia and Sandra.

Jozlyn is a student at University of Washington Bothell (UWB), double-majoring in Law Economic Public Policy and Global Studies with a minor in Human Rights. She was selected as the Seattle Ambassador in June by the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) and the City of Seattle Office of the Mayor, who ran the program for the first time this year.

Sponsored by the program, she embarked on a trip to Guatemala in fall and visited several Seattle-based nonprofit organizations, seeing firsthand their work in the community. She shares details of her experience by writing on her blog, and will be going on local media outlets and attending events to share what she learned about global poverty with the Seattle community.

Jozlyn visited two different GV project sites in Santa Maria, a town just outside of Antigua at the base of the Volcán de Agua in Guatemala, where she saw kids inside the classrooms built by GV volunteers. Santa Maria is one of several towns in which GV is bringing together Guatemalan youth and Seattle youth through leadership development programs and local service projects with a focus on social and environmental justice.

“I was able to visit two schools built by GV Guatemalan and Seattle youth in the towns Cerro del Niño and Santa Maria de Jesus; both remote, impoverished towns that historically have been difficult to access by car due to steep hills, and do not have enough classrooms for its growing population (Santa Maria has over 600 students!). It was incredible to see the culmination of the hard labor of Guatemalan and Seattle students who have come together to share across cultures and give back to their local and global communities through the construction of these schools.

“Seeing the classrooms filled with children, and new classrooms on the way, was heartwarming. Hundreds of children are able to go to school, and communities are able to thrive because of the commitment of Guatemalan and Seattle youth leaders to create social change,” said Jozlyn.

She then joined GV staff Aurelio, Claudia and Sandra, Youth Leader Patricia, and Don. Mario Perez Pio, mayor of Santa Maria de Jesus, for a dialogue on the biggest issues faced by youth in Guatemala, as well as Global Visionaries’ impact in the community by partnering with local municipalities and bringing education and leadership opportunities to young people. GV is currently working in partnership with Mayor Perez and the local government of Santa Maria to construct new classrooms and provide volunteer opportunities for young people.

Jozlyn recalled the conversation on her blog:

“There are many challenges for young people in Guatemala. Many do not have the resources or the opportunity to study past the 6th grade, and must begin working at a young age to support their families. Others in rural communities are not in close proximity to a school, and therefore never receive a formal education.”

Patricia (Pati), graduate of the 2012 intensive leadership program in Santa Maria, also shared her point of view of the challenges youth in her community face when it comes to education, especially girls.

“Young people are oppressed and cannot speak their minds; girls in particular are told they cannot go to school because you’re a girl,” said Pati.


Jozlyn wrote about her exchange with Pati and Sandra:

“(They) both emphasized GV’s vital role in creating a safe environment for young women and men to grow, not only by providing opportunities and infrastructure like the classrooms built by Seattle and Guatemalan youth volunteers, but also the space and community to talk about racism and sexism with other youth.

“I was most inspired by Sandra’s story about her personal experience with overcoming discrimination, as an indigenous woman who was expected to support her family rather than continue to go to school (families not recognizing the importance of investing in their child’s education is something I have heard consistently throughout the week). In pursuit of her dream of finishing school, Sandra left for Antigua where she faced racism and sexism in another way – being isolated for wearing indigenous dress. Sandra and Pati both stressed the importance of Global Visionaries’ programs providing the space and community to talk about racism and sexism with other youth.”

For the full story, visit Jozlyn’s blog at

Seattle Repertory Tickets Available Through GV

Bagley Wright Theater
Bagley Wright Theater

September 30 marks a nine year partnership between GV and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. To celebrate this anniversary a limited amount of preview tickets will be available for purchase through GV, featuring four performances in the Bagley Wright Theater.  A massive discount is offered, costs going as low as $10. All proceeds will be directed to the GV scholarship fund.

Upcoming shows that are available through GV are:

The Servant of Two Masters: 9/27, 9/29, 10/1 (Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) at 7:30pm

The Hound of the Baskervilles: 11/15, 11/17, 11/19 (Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) at 7:30pm

Venus in Fur: 2/7, 2/9, 2/11 (Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) at 7:30pm

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: 4/18, 4/20, 4/22 (Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) at 7:30pm

A scene from the Servant of Two Masters

The first show, Servant of Two Masters, is a comedy by the Venetian playwrite Carlo Goldoni written in 1743. The story revolves around an exceptionally quirky and comical character, Truffaldino, who is always complaining of an empty stomach, and always trying to satisfy his hunger by eating everything and anything in sight. Tickets are available for showings on 9/27, 9/29 and 10/1 (Friday, Sunday and Tuesday) at 7:30pm.

For further inquiries and to purchase tickets please email the GV office manager at For more information on this play and other upcoming plays please click here.

Experiential Workshop Exploring Diversity, Nov. 2-3

Global Visionaries and The Mandala Center for Change jointly present:

Diversity: Evolving from Reality to Truth

Do you ever wonder

How does our gender, ethnicity, and other social group memberships affect our experience in the world and how others experience us? How can we work together to create a just and healthy world for all?

For anyone interested in re-humanizing humanity including community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, therapists, workshop leaders, and more, this workshop explores the issues that surface under the general term “diversity”. Often associated just with race, this also includes gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, nationality, and more. Throughout the two-day workshop, you will develop a deeper awareness about societal systems, your own social rank and its impact on situations, as well as strategies to be become a more effective ally to yourself and others, whether it be around institutions or in your own personal life.

Despite the serious nature of the issues, the process is remarkably playful and experiential, employing interactive tools such as the Theatre of the Oppressed to generate an honest dialogue on systematic oppression – the “isms” – that divide people through inequity and injustice. Through story sharing and problem solving, our goal is to increase awareness, empathy, and empowerment towards action.

Date: Sat & Sun, November 2-3, 2013
Time: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Room 206, El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave S, Seattle
Cost: $200

Participants in a workshop on the Theatre of the Oppressed in New York City:

To register, follow this link

For Program info only, contact the Mandala Center:
P: 360-344-3435 | E:


Meet the Facilitators:

Cheryl Harrison

Cheryl Harrison: Former and founding member of Seattle Public Theater’s Theater of Liberation Ensemble, Cheryl has been active in anti-oppression and empowerment work since the mid 1980’s. Cheryl has worked with an array of communities such as homeless youth, domestic violence survivors, school age youth, nurses, work transition programs (YWCA), as well as universities and colleges. Through her work Cheryl is committed to facilitating self-awareness and empowerment for individuals and communities as a means to create a world which values equity, understanding and compassion for all peoples around the world.

Marc Weinblatt

Marc Weinblatt: Formerly Co-Artistic Director of the Seattle Public Theatre, Marc has been a professional educator, theatre artist, activist, and workshop facilitator since 1980. He is an internationally recognized leader in the use of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed (T.O.) and has trained thousands in the use of the techniques through classes and trainings since the early 1990’s. Marc has worked with communities ranging from police to homeless youth, grassroots organizers and laborers to University deans. He also directs the multi-generational Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble which incorporates T.O. and Playback Theatre to generate community dialogue on social issues.

In Pictures: Open House Highlights

Hi everyone!

GV would like to thank you all for attending the Open House and making it a huge success. We had a good turnout, the coffee tasted great, our guests had a good time and GV’s new campaigns got off to a flying start!

In additional to the beloved coffee tasting, delicious food and photo exhibitions, GV introduced the Sustainers Circle, a new monthly giving campaign, last night at the Open House. Parents, donors and GV supporters can now enjoy peace of mind by signing up for an automated monthly gift at various levels. The Sustainers Circle makes a huge difference by sustaining the positive impact that GV has on our youth, our community and our world.

We also promoted the Parent Network, a platform for parents to get to know other parents and discuss what our students are learning at GV. It aims at building a strong community to connect parents for carpooling, organizing volunteering for events, and providing support to new parents. The Parent Network will gather at local restaurants or the Global Visionaries office during student events.


Highlights of the Global Visionaries Open House 2013

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Renovation Update: Room 206

image-3This summer, Global Visionaries has acquired a new office space which is being transformed into a brand new Youth Center for our students, parents and alumni. Our interns and volunteers have been working on it diligently and the renovation is finally completed! We are very excited to unveil the new room tonight at our Open House Event. Here are a few snapshots of our new space under transformation, taken over the last three weeks.


Like our main office, the new Youth Center has five large windows that allow ample natural light to enter the spacious room. A new shelf and a white board have been installed in this corner of the room.


The whole room is now covered with brand new carpets. The full kitchen behind the two doors on the left is equipped with a full fridge, a sink and other utensils. You are now welcome to bring snacks and ice cream!

It has been a really exciting project and we would like to thank all our wonderful interns and volunteers for the hard work that they put in. Thank you all for making this happen!

***Tyler Flora 20130729_161536Tyler Flora, painting the ceiling

Jake Ragen 20130729_161552Jake Ragen, Lead Assistant

Annie Chan, Bart Flora, Daniel Douglas 20130729_161606More wall-painting – (Left to right) Annie Chan, Bart Flora, Daniel Douglas

Last but not least, we would like to give a big shout out to the following people who have been immense help to GV in creating this great gathering space for our students.

Muchas gracias!

Tyler Flora, GV Alumni
Gina LaBrosse, LaBrosse Fine painting

Craig Borgmann, Alumni Parent, Toth Construction, Inc.
Darrell Westlake, Alumni Parent, Toth Construction, Inc.
Scott Boyer, Boyer Electric

Curtis Schneider, Alumni Parent

Bob McCaslin, Alliance Flooring Services

MaryAnn and Ralph Scofield
Paul Scofield, Aquarius Design

Kitchen Appliances
Malcolm and Christine Cannon, GV BOD

Cash Donations
The Crist Family
The Hope-Young Family
The Goodwin Family

Special Thanks
Chris Feiring-Nishihara, Executive Intern Project Lead
Jake Ragen, Intern, Lead Assistant
Priya Manion, Assistant
El Centro de la Raza

Open House!

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 4.10.55 PM

Join us for an evening of celebration and fun!

GV has acquired additional office space in our current building that is being transformed into a community space for next year’s youth and our alums. This previously tired pre-school classroom will convert into an inviting place for youth and parents to gather for retreats, culture nights, youth board meetings, orientations, and more.

We are also launching a new gourmet coffee line in partnership with Kuma Coffee. Proceeds go to Global Visionaries youth who are fundraising for a cultural immersion experience in Guatemala. Kuma Coffee is sourced via direct trade from small farmers in Antigua, Guatemala.

Stop by anytime and check out our new space on August 27, Tuesday to taste some gourmet coffee, view photo exhibitions, enjoy snacks, and meet our awesome staff!

We hope to see you there!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

2524 16th Ave S, room 206
Seattle, WA 98144

Register here

Summer Trip: Growth Beyond Measure

June 29th, 2013

By Marita Phelps, Global Visionaries Program Manager

On a typical morning, like today in San Miguel Escobar, one would hear various types of birds singing among rooster crowings, firework explosions here and there celebrating birthdays, and the cathedral bells that fill the town each hour of the day. Mostly cloudy, the sun will shine for several hours and heavy rain has been normal in the late afternoons and evenings. Today the group visited the Maya ruins at Iximche in Tecpan which was a change of pace and scenery from the work week. Usually, students will go to their prospecive work sites in the mornings, have a siesta or break at home with their families in the afternoon, go to school and then come together as a whole with the group for salsa or reflection.

There were many breakthroughs throughout the work week. One of the most popular was “the language barrier.” Most students soon found language was not a barrier at all, especially with the help of their teachers at school. One student said:

“It was very validating to have a two hour conversation with a native speaker and I immediately felt so comfortable, as my many language barrier worries floated away.”

Students have shown positive leadership by becoming quickly immersed into the culture, stepping out of their comfort zones and making an effort to connect with Guatemalans regardless of how much spanish they previously knew.

Many students are working harder than they ever have in their lives, especially since more than half of the students are doing physical labor. Working at these sites gives the students a chance to see how most of the world makes a living as well as the strength and resilience it takes to get through day after day. In order for youth to properly lead the world towards a just and sustainable future it helps for them to experience global injustices first! Working with the Chapines, or the Guatemalan student counterparts, is one of the most important parts of the cultural immersion experience. This is one of the many ways the US students, or gringos, learn how to work side by side with other youth to seek alternative and innovative approaches to the problems facing their generation. A student from the reforestation team said:

“It was pretty satisfying to hear that we had planted over 300 trees, and not one complaint while doing so, I was really proud of everybody on the reforestation team for several reasons. One of these reasons was that nobody complained about the very long and steep hike to the worksite, and everyone volunteered to carry something. I was also really proud of our workteam because when I looked around there were gringos working with chapines. There weren’t two separate groups. Everyone was working and talking together.”

We have had several reflections thus far and there are several more to come. In the first reflection, which happened in workteams, it was obvious that there was a lot on everyone’s mind but perhaps not enough words to articulate those thoughts and feelings. Although reluctant, some shared and others just listened deeply nodding in agreeance at their peers experience. By the first large group reflection, more than half of the particpants offered their insight about their time in Guatemala. A mixed bag of emotions like sadness, appreciation, anger, and empathy, caused many of them to cry. Some admitted that they had never before been so introspective or emotionally intelligent as they have been here and now. A hospital student said:

“After everyday here I grow more homesick because being here makes me so appreciative of what I have at home. And I wish I could see my mom and daddy to tell them exactly how thankful I am for everything they’ve done and sacrificed simply so can have the best life and the endless opportunities I have now.”

As we reach the end of our time here in Guatemala, the vast inner growth of each student leader shines outwardly and yet there is still much to gain and growth to witness even in the last days.

Summer Trip: Hurry Up and Lead; Wait in the Meantime

20130620_193029By Marita Phelps, Global Visionaries Program Manager

June 25th, 2013

From the moment we gathered as a group in the airport we were faced with challenges that demanded leadership, selflessness and group unity. We were delayed two hours from our initial flight, made headlines because of a three hour emergency landing in Denver and after missing our connection in Miami, waited another seven hours in the airport for a new flight. Each and every young person in the group rose to the occasion and showed leadership.

They supported one another, they did not complain, they moved through the airports maturely, contributed valuable suggestions to solve the many problems we encountered and at the last leg of the trip, went down in GV history as the fastest group to load the bus. As one student recalls, “What really stuck with me was ‘group first, me second’ because everyone is just as tired as the next and we have to suck it up.” Certainly without forewarning and perhaps without forethought, the young people in this group were spontaneously faced with a challenge that called to use all the leadership skills they have learned in the program throughout the year. They truly rose to the occasion and proved to everyone, including themselves that they too have the ability to lead.

Despite the fatigue of traveling for 28 long hours, the group again “sucked it up” and the very next morning experienced their first lesson on global injustice during this Cultural Immersion at the Guatemala City dump. For many of the students, seeing the dump was a period of introspection. If the piercing silence wasn’t enough of an indication, the facial expressions certainly were. They were becoming aware, perhaps more so now than other times, of their personal contribution to environmental injustice and their responsibilities as global citizens. As another student recalled, “Seeing the dump made me realize how wealthy and privileged I really am compared to many people in the world. It also made me think about the role I play in supporting the system that creates situations like this -all the waste that I generate in a day, America’s support of successive military governments who mismanaged the country resulting in extreme poverty like this. I resolved to reuse and/or recycle everything I could, and to buy fewer processed foods and other products which come with a lot of packaging that then becomes trash.” To see the world shine in the light of justice both environmentally and socially we all must do what this young person has already done, which is to self-reflect and commit to lifestyle changes, if need be, for the greater good.

Thus far the students have also completed their first day of work, had their first day of school with their teachers, had small group reflections and every day are spending quality time with their home stay families. The learning and growth process this Cultural Immersion affords is multi-faceted and deep. The participants are gaining multiple perspectives about the world, in order to properly lead it, from Guatemalans and even each other. A student puts it best saying that, “My roommate and I both do not know any Spanish but we try and we interact but even after we have a conversation with our homestay family, we both have different views on what/who we were talking about. Thus making today one of my favorites because of all the opinions and different views by many other GV participants, especially heard on the long bus ride back to Antigua. Everyone takes away something different, but to share and explore ones you may never have crossed is the real reflection/learning experience.”

The future of the world is what comes to mind most often while we share this space and time with one another but we will first have to tackle the future of this trip and take our eagerness to see a just and sustainable world one step at a time. So, until the next time adios amigos!