Category Archives: Testimony

What Makes GV Different

By Morgan Flake

Imagine leading 42 high school students through an airport and onto a series of planes to a foreign country. Are you experiencing mild panic?

As a program manager at GV, this is part of my job. I love my job—I get to work with amazing youth, speak Spanish, travel, and work for social justice. It can be stressful at times! There are many details to manage. Luckily, the GV structure makes it easier. As the spring immersion approached, every time I started to stress about the tasks ahead, I remembered the team of Junior Leaders that I would be traveling with and my anxiety dissipated. Now, it may sound pretty wild that an adult program manager is relying on a group of four teen leaders and a teen intern, but what GV does—the leadership we build in young people—is remarkable. And reliable. Not only could I count on the five youth to initiate every passport check as we made our way through the airport, to get students to write letters to self on the plane, to start games at the waiting area—I needed to in order to encourage their leadership.

At GV I’ve learned that we can’t teach leadership, we can only share it. By stepping back, supervising, and using what we call the “invisible hand” of leadership, I can guide and monitor quietly in the background while the youth step up to lead the group.

It is a beautiful and inspiring thing to watch. Emily, Tia, Anthony, Nancy, and Rory absolutely rocked this immersion. When something slipped my mind, like training the Leaders of the Day for the next day, the Junior Leaders reminded me, rather than the other way around. They were highly observant, making sure that every participant felt included. They came up with their own strategies to solve problems. They intuited the best response to situations: when to intervene, when to go with the flow, when to delegate a task, when to pump up the group. Their leadership was democratic. They encouraged each participant to do their assigned job (whether making sure everyone was drinking water or making sure we were mixing up between gringos and Guatemalans), so that they could build their confidence and capacity to lead. I never stop marveling at how unique it is to develop these skills through the experiences GV offers.

I only began to learn these skills in college, more so after college. These students are prepared to lead diverse groups through challenging circumstances before they even graduate high school. I can only imagine what they will accomplish beyond 18 years old. They will be senators, teachers, and scientists. They will be leaders in whatever field they choose to pursue.

The first year leadership program shapes empathetic hearts and critical minds. It creates meaningful memories that I have seen change a person more than any textbook could. The Advanced Leadership Program takes that growth and understanding, and amplifies. Students learn to facilitate conversations, resolve conflicts, build movements. I can’t wait to see how our first year participants who continue with GV through the Advanced Leadership Program will grow as they build their leadership over the coming years, and I can’t wait to read about them in the newspaper someday. But they don’t need to wait until some arbitrary age to lead—Global Visionaries youth are leaders already, today.


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.

My Pathway Through College

My pathway through coll

By Theresa Keith

As a high school student, I was a part of many different activities, clubs, and organizations, all of which affected and shaped those years of my life. In my opinion, the true measure of an organization’s impact on your life is the degree to which it influences the choices you make, especially those choices that in turn, greatly affect your life. For me, that influence was Global Visionaries (GV) which greatly affected my search and final decision for college. In retrospect, I am extremely grateful that this was the case.

I joined GV in my junior year of high school, and continued with GV Youth Board my senior year. The skills and lessons that I learned with GV, both personal and global, infiltrated my thinking about higher education and the course my life would eventually take. While in the GV program I realized how much I value diversity, community, leadership, activism, social justice, and global perspectives. I realized that I found a sense of purpose and fulfillment when learning and teaching about these ideas, and that I wanted to be able to pursue that wherever I went to college. I looked for a place that was in a globally connected city, had study abroad opportunities, valued social justice, and most of all promoted learning for a purpose beyond oneself. These aspects led me to choose the University of San Francisco (USF), and the influence of GV did not stop there.

Although I have only been at USF for one semester, I have gravitated toward clubs such as “Students of the World.” Two of my first courses at USF were “Writing about Human Rights” and “Confluences and Conflicts in the Spanish Speaking World,” two passions that were ignited and encouraged at culture nights and in the GV office. GV has not necessarily changed what I want to do in life, since I still currently plan on double majoring in biology and Spanish and becoming a biologist. Instead, GV has changed how I intend to do these things: by collaborating cross-culturally, by learning through travel, by infusing scientific study with the awareness of injustices, and by always working for a purpose greater than oneself and in the service of others.

1st Year Participant 2012-2013

Youth Board Member 2013-2014

The Chain of Growth


By Natalie Chaparro, Pro Justice Team

A wave of shock came over me when we landed. The airplane ride was full of “what if’s” and excited nervousness that everyone was able to relate to. I couldn’t believe we were going to Guatemala, so much anticipation and curiosities that are going to be exposed to me. We retrieved our bags, cleared through customs, and braced ourselves at the glass doors that revealed something that made my heart drop. Loud cheering and radiant smiles, countless people to welcome us to their home stood outside the airport to greet all of us. Shaking their hands and kissing their cheeks one by one, the genuineness of it all made me feel at ease, it made me feel like I was in paradise. We loaded our luggage onto our travel bus, and took our seats sitting tightly next to new friends.

We all finally sat on the bus waiting for what’s next. But it didn’t matter, the laughter and simple joy of knowing we were all going to go through this together reflected on every face, and was something that I could feel deep in my stomach. My cheeks flushed as I read my families welcome card, we were all handed one on the bus as we traveled to meet them and spend our first night with them. It felt good knowing that every word on that card was just for me, even if I could barely understand the language at first, it was still meant for me.

That was the very first memory that started a chain of growth for me in Guatemala. It was the very first memory that stood as the foundation for all other bonding experiences that have acted as the building blocks for what I am proud to be part of today. Every day I woke up, I went to work, I spoke to someone new, and I found a little part of myself. I knew that meeting that little part of myself would have been unattainable without my host family, without my GV family, but most importantly, without San Miguel. It is a part of me that grew and surfaced within the hour I was immersed in such a special place, and it’s a feeling that everyone should be given the chance to discover.

Explaining the journey that Guatemala takes a person on, the self-discovery, the exposure to a world outside your own and how much knowledge one gains is truly indescribable. To define Guatemala into a series and compilation of words that leaves so much to interpretation, does not do it justice. When I returned home, that was another thing I discovered. Trying to explain the path on which this amazing place took me and continues to take me is one of the most taxing things to put into words. Words are a powerful thing, but there is still that fear of denigrating all that Guatemala is with them. The encounter with it is the only thing that could emanate all of its beauty in the most articulate way.

When I returned home, the responsibility I felt to the people who were curious to know about this place, made me feel like my work wasn’t done. Working with the Chapines was for a purpose, how much they taught me and how much I was able to teach them is something I was ready to give to more people, something I wanted more people to have. The hesitation, the nervousness the utter unknowing of all the possibilities that await when traveling there is the beautiful chance I wanted to give to future students to take. I decided that after my first year in Global Visionaries’ leadership program, the second year program was where I belonged. I ended up combining forces with Pro Justice (PJ), a team that actively works towards giving first year students the preparation for their journey that we were given by the PJ leaders that taught us as first years.

I not only continue to feel like my PJ team is my family, but it has been what keeps what I found in myself in Guatemala alive and ambitious. The power I hold as a young person and knowing I can be the change in contribution to a sustainable world and environment has been the light for me these past two years.

New friends, new views, and a whole different type of active involvement has uncovered itself to me, and I feel honored to work with the amazing people that I continue to work with today.

The Power of Collaboration

Chris Fontana_GLSI_croppedIt really does take a village: this past August, Global Visionaries (GV) collaborated with seven organizations to host the Global Leadership Summer Institute for educators. The Institute included 22 educators from five states. Throughout the weeklong Institute, educators learned how to create a truly democratic classroom in which students can become engaged global leaders.

But what is a democratic classroom? Simply put a democratic classroom is where educators teach and students learn in an environment where both are empowered. Its bottom up, not top down. Where students have a platform to inform policy and curriculum. Student councils are empowered to have a real say in how issues are addressed in their schools and communities. And the student body take responsibility for their classroom environments, fostering leadership and empowerment, and take positive action. This is what teachers who attend our Institute learn; that we cannot teach responsibility, we can only share it.

Results and success from the Institute were reflected in feedback from participant Lisa Westerfield, a Global Contexts For Leadership Pathway Teacher and Curriculum Developer at Newark Charter Jr/Sn High School, Newark, DE. She reports,

“I held my first class meeting in my Global Leadership II class. I just wanted to let you know it was amazing.  The students are bought into the idea of class jobs and how the class will be structured. They also like the idea of adopting an elementary classroom this year too.  One wonderful action took place was when one of my returning students who last year was quiet and rarely participated, without intense prompting volunteered for a leadership class job that will require her to be the spokesperson for the class when speaking with our principal. Wonderful outcome for a first meeting.”

GV’s commitment is to shepherd in an era in which educators and students, parents and youth, collaborate powerfully on a higher level of thought and interaction. But it takes a village and GV is just part of this picture. This year’s Institute and the positive outcomes of each educators’ experience, would not have been possible without GV’s valued partners and funders: Seattle University School of Education, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Seattle Public Schools; as well as GV’s educational partners, Center for Teaching Quality, World Affairs Council, Global Weeks and Facing the Future, all providing facilities and resources to the Institute.

For our imperiled Earth, and the humans and other beings who live on it, these interactions are invaluable to the successes of our future.

By Chris Fontana, Global Visionaries

The Global Leadership Summer Institute for Educators is scheduled for August 3 – 7, 2015. If you are interested in participating, volunteering, or financially supporting the Institute, please contact

New school year, new approach.

Global Visionaries Summer Institute August2014With summer winding down and a fresh school year rapidly approaching, teachers across the state are working to fine-tune curriculum and establish educational goals for the year ahead. As part of this preparatory process, nearly twenty educators traveled from all corners of Puget Sound and beyond in early August, to participate in the very first Global Leadership Summer Institute.

One participant emphasizes the positive impact of the Summer Institute’s content on their existing teaching plan:  

“It was really great to revisit my plan for the beginning of the school year in the context of the Institute and in conversation with others. I was able to strengthen the beginning of my year and add rich flavors that I otherwise would have missed out on.”

Another participant asserts,  

“This is what I came to learn. I am excited to implement these tools in my classroom.”

Facilitated by Global Visionaries Executive Director, Chris Fontana, and experienced global educators, Vicki Weeks and Noah Zeichner, this weeklong program was created as a result of the enthusiastic response to last year’s single day workshop.

About the Summer Institute

The Summer Institute provides educators from all backgrounds with the tools and techniques to cultivate a climate of mutual respect and shared ownership, in which student leaders become engaged global leaders, both in and out of the classroom. The Institute is interactive and allows participants to collaborate with each other, discuss the pedagogies presented to them, and practice their implementation throughout the course of the workshop. At the end of their weeklong experience, educators come away with a myriad of ideas and resources to bring back to their school and fold in to their current pedagogical practices.

The Institute from GV offers educators professional development in the field of global studies and youth leadership.

  • Presentations and discussions center on how to engage youth in social and environmental issues pertinent to our culture today.
  • With a combination of face-to-face training and mentorship, the Institute demonstrates how to develop an atmosphere of youth entrepreneurship and leadership amongst student bodies.

Outcomes for teachers returning to their classrooms include the opportunity to lead school transformation through global awareness, volunteerism, and youth led initiatives.

Our supporters

The Summer Institute is the result of continued collaboration and support from GV’s sponsors, Seattle University School of Education, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Seattle Public Schools; as well as GV’s educational partners, Center for Teaching Quality, World Affairs Council, Global Weeks and Facing the Future, all providing facilities and resources to the Institute. And with funding in part from the Bezos Family Foundation.

To find out more about our teacher programs visit our website.

GV Alumni Voices: Haley Robinson

Haley Robinson, a former Global Visionaries participant, will be returning to Guatemala this week as a Junior Leader for the 2013-14 Summer Program and will be documenting her experience through photos and blog posts.


Ian: So, its been a couple of years since your own student experience in Guatemala. At what point did you decide to go back?

Haley: I decided I wanted to go back was after having a conversation with Chris Fontana earlier this year when I was looking for summer opportunities. My parents suggested that I look into volunteering with GV this summer so, after much deliberation surrounding other jobs, I decided that I wanted to devote my time to GV. Chris offered me the opportunity to travel as a trip leader, and that was the point at which I decided I wanted to go back.


Was it mostly the travel that appealed to you?

The ability to travel was definitely part of it. But, for the most part, I wanted the experience to work and travel as a Junior Leader. I have the privilege of working alongside Chris Fontana, Mario Flores, and others who are incredibly skilled at what they do. Growing as an individual and a leader in an environment like the one GV fosters is an opportunity I didn’t want to take for granted.


How do you think integrating into Guatemalan culture will be different now compared to last time?

I now have more experience travelling. The last time I visited Guatemala, I was a sophomore in high school; now I’m going into my sophomore year of college. I’ve travelled pretty extensively in that period and I think I now have more of an ability to assimilate into different cultures and groups of people. It seems more natural for me now, whereas when I was younger it was more uncomfortable.


So you think the personal connections will be more impactful for you this time?

Exactly! I think last time I was able to make strong connections with my group members, but language barriers distanced me from delving into personal connections with Guatemalans. Now, as I return, my Spanish has improved and I feel more comfortable creating those closer relationships with local people.


What will be different coming in as a Junior Leader rather than a student?

I think it will be a completely different experience, and I’ll be able to see Guatemala through a completely different lens. For almost two months now I have been working closely with the GV staff and so I will be returning with a different perspective of GV, its work, and the logistics of the programs.


What do you think is important to impart onto the students you’ll be leading?

It’s been interesting to see how my life has been affected by this program and I want to see the same transformational change in the students. I don’t necessarily know how I want to approach providing them with that experience yet, but it’s something I’ll be working on day by day—I just want to be a support for them, and listen—that’s the most important part of my job.


What will be most difficult about leading?

Being able to embrace the style of GV leadership is going to be a challenge for me since I’m so comfortable in my own ways of leading. I suppose being able to fully understand the program, being able to impart that on the students, and sharing with them the foundation of Global Visionaries is going to be a rewarding challenge for me. I want to give them a very full and unforgettable experience.


Which people are you most excited to revisit?

Well, I actually planned a dinner with my original host family, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again. I’m also excited to reconnect with Sandra, Billy, Aurelio, and others from the Guatemalan team. Now as a Junior Leader, I’m looking forward to creating deeper personal and professional connections with them.


What do you think, besides the physical work that you’re doing, you’ll leave the Guatemalans with after you go?

I think once I get a sense of the community and how much it’s evolved since I was last there, I’ll be able to better tell. Times have changed since I was last there, technologically and otherwise, and I’m interested to see the advancements that their society has made. As far as what I’m gonna leave them with, I really can’t say at the moment. I think that will come with time.


Follow Haley’s adventures on the GV blog – – enjoy regular updates featuring photos and writing documenting the 2014 Summer experience and more!

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

Words from Youth: Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone

By Ellie, 16 from Nathan Hale High School

June 30, 2013

Saying adios to my family, friends, house, phone, make-up, clothes, etc. was not exactly comfortable. Going to a foreign country where people speak a language I hardly understand was uncomfortable. Interacting with the people from GV and all the people who live in Guatemala was extremely uncomfortable. Luckily, being uncomfortable has pushed me to experience, learn and grow in more ways than I realized possible.

For starters, living in a house full of strangers with a roommate I barely knew was terribly awkward. I’m sure all the participants could back me up. However, after many silent pauses and “lo siento, no entiendo”‘s (sorry, I don’t understand)’s I feel extremely close to my family here. I forced myself to initiate conversation or any sort of interaction. It was almost always uncomfortable. I’m so glad I did.

At this point in the trip, I, like many other participants, have a special connection with the families here in San Miguel. I have learned so much about love, hard work, and kindness through my family’s sweet example and constant smiles. I’ll be forever grateful to have consistently chosen to get to know them, even when it was difficult.

On a different note, it has been beyond rewarding to see our work on construction actually paying off. The three classrooms we have focused on have grown from about waist-level to almost ceiling height. The tedious cinderblock laying, prominent farmers tan, strenuous cement mixing and concrete-covered clothes have most certainly been worth it.

What’s made our work extra meaningful is the opportunity it has given us to work with the Guatemalan teens, the Chapines. They are now intertwined into our GV family like they have been there all along. On Friday, numerous water fights and inside jokes passed between us. The insanity has increased as our comfort levels with one another rose.

I love that even with a gigantic language barrier and so many differences, I feel the Chapines are now my amigos. Our differences have allowed us to learn from each other’s cultures. It was strange at first, but it totally paid off. This was evident in our excursion to Iximche (Mayan Ruins) on Saturday. Sitting “gringo/chapin” felt totally normal after a week of being together. Many photos, games and laughs were shared together while visiting the Ruins. I was happy to share that experience with my new friends!

Thinking back to culture night numero uno (#1), I remember being very, very uncomfortable. Our group has come a long way since then. Making friends and getting to know my group has been exciting and difficult at the same time. However, today we were all together, sitting on the floor giggling and enjoying watching our fellow participants act out a traditional Mayan wedding ritual. We shopped together and afterwards ate the traditional Guatemalan dish, Pepian.

I couldn’t help but feel grateful for each and every one of them. They have been the ones all year inspiring me and helping me step out of my comfort zone. We have learned and experienced some more unsettling things here in Guatemala as well. I’m glad to have learned what global leadership looks like together. I learn more and more every day and it inspires me to do better. Personally, I’m bummed about returning to Seattle in a few short days. But when we do I can’t wait to start actually doing something. I’m ready to start affecting positive change in the world, whatever that looks like.

I’m extremely thankful my “uncomfortables” have become my new “comfortable.” Feeling comfortable here in many ways has helped me realize what changes need to be made in the work. I’m ready to see where this new-found perspective will take me.

Words from Youth: My Host Brother

Reforestation 2013

By Kito, 16 from Ballard High School

June 27, 2013

Last week I could solemnly swear that I didn’t like children. I didn’t like the way they smelled, the way they were always dirty, and especially the way they complained. That is until I met David.

For the first day that my housemate and I returned from a hard day’s work, David was waiting for us with an enormous grin on his face. We hadn’t seen him the night before because we had just arrived in Guatemala and it was very late, so David was fast asleep. This day however, David was wide awake and ready to hang out with us. When we walked through the door, David excitedly shouted “hola!” and brought us to the living room. He sat us down on the couch next to each other and proceeded to jump onto our laps and sit right between us both, with one leg on top of my leg, and the other on top of my housemates.

Seven year old David had not known me for more than 45 seconds, but already we both knew we were going to get along just fine. At first I assumed that all of the kids here were going to be brats, but I learned that I was dead wrong. At one time during the work hours, there was a very large hill that we had to walk over to get to our site. I quickly exclaimed, “ay carumba” because I was taking a heavy box of trees up to our worksite, and a bunch of kids heard me. Without hesitation a posse of children offered to take all of my stuff up the mountain purely out of the goodness of their hearts. These actions that I witnessed absolutely changed my opinion of people younger than me, and I have David to thank for opening my eyes.