Fiesta de Guatemala!

May 19, 2010

An assortment of exotic items, inspirational keynote speakers, a daring challenge fund, and an array of succulent desserts highlighted Global Visionaries’ “Fiesta de Guatemala” auction gala. Held on May 8th at the Jerry Brockey Conference Center at South Seattle Community College, GV’s 2010 Auction raised $130,000 in donations, setting the bar high for future fundraising events.
The 340 attendees were privileged to listen to two remarkable keynote speakers, Sandra Aracely Ordonez and Charissa Shoecraft, deliver powerful testimonies about their personal stories and relationship with GV.
“Just as GV has helped me change my life, GV has also given many children the opportunity to learn to read and write by building schools in villages that had none before,” Ordonez said in her speech. “This gives hope to the children and the community.”
Sandra is a Cakchikel Mayan woman from Guatemala who is in the United States working with EarthCorps. Charissa is a student at Rainier Beach High School who attended the 2010 spring trip.
“You hear so many people say that youth are the future but not many programs give youth the opportunity to be in leadership positions and experience the power of the world first hand,” Shoecraft said. “GV is truly empowering the next generation.”
During the live auction, Board Member Alison McCaffree challenged everyone in the audience to raise $6,300 to match the amount of money raised by people who wanted to attend the auction but could not. She successfully got 63 people to donate $100 right on the spot.

The “Fiesta de Guatemala” would not have been possible without the help of our students, parents, staff, and numerous volunteers who helped procure items, raise money, and host the auction.

Self-Profile, Andrea Zikakis

May 19, 2010

Global Visionaries first came to my attention four years ago through a high school student who was involved with GV. Throughout his time with Global Visionaries, I was privileged to journey alongside him and his family hearing stories about how GV was helping him to be more aware of the world in which he lived as well as how he lived in that world. I was able to dialogue with him about what he was learning through Global Visionaries and how it impacted him how it affected his family.

But perhaps I was most surprised that this learning was not just rendered through an intellectual discourse but rather through active participation. Sure there were some talks, but more than that, there were service projects, group discussions, shared fund-raising, and an invaluable cross-cultural trip to help expose kids to life outside of the United States.

I am a firm believer that people learn best in interactive and engaging environments. It’s one thing to study history, it’s quite another to recognize how our history forms us while simultaneously recognizing that it need not control us. I love that GV fosters opportunities for high-schoolers to be actively involved in their own development and the improvement of the world.

One of my strongest core values is that all people have dignity. Although this value has been with me since childhood, it’s found a fuller expression through living and working in five different countries (the United States, Philippines, Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica). Over and over again, I have been touched by the beauty and goodness of people. Sadly, I have also witnessed how that beauty has been threatened by prejudice, as well as privilege. My pursuit of working towards a just world aligns with GV’s steadfast commitment to bring forth equality to all people.

I believe that young people have the creativity and wherewithal to make significant changes.  I am very excited to be part of GV. I know I have a lot to learn but I couldn’t ask for a better organization to do it with. I look forward to meeting many of you in the days and months ahead.

Youth Venture Presentations 2010

May 19, 2010

This past February, 17 students from Global Visionaries presented seven different proposals of service projects they would like to launch to benefit social justice causes in Seattle and abroad.

These student-led initiatives are part of a pilot partnership program between Global Visionaries and Youth Venture, an international social entrepreneurship organization that specializes in providing youth with the resources to launch their own self-sustaining service projects. After the presentations, the groups were awarded $6,200 to launch their ventures.

Project proposals include Bridges of Hope, a program aspiring to put a face to the problems of homelessness, Ping Pong for Nompondo, which aims to give resources to a small school in Nompondo, South Africa, and Youth Campaign for Political Action, dedicated to fighting youth apathy in Seattle/Bellevue, among many others.

One of the presenters was AJ Winkelman, a junior at Mercer Island High School. Winkelman, along with Gabe Tse, introduced EducAid, an after-school tutoring program where high school students tutor elementary school students for at least one hour per week.

“When I went to Guatemala, we learned about how important education is, and we saw how excited the kids were when they saw a school being built,” Winkelman said. “Education is the most important way we can help them help themselves.”

A relationship between Global Visionaries and Youth Venture seems like a perfect match, as both organizations share similar values. As Global Visionaries offers students with the resources to make a positive change in their communities, Youth Venture provides them with the training and knowledge necessary to make those changes effective and sustainable.

The students involved in this pilot program began working with Youth Venture team members in mid November. Youth Venture sponsored ten workshop activities for GV students to participate in, with their tenth workshop culminating in the panel presentations. Previous workshops focused on teaching students the business skills needed to become successful social entrepreneurs; such as budgeting, making time lines, brainstorming ideas, implementing ideas into action, fund-raising, creating goals, assigning duties and planning for the future.

April 28, 2010

I have never been more motivated to learn and be active in my own culture. I feel like I have not only neglected, but forgotten my culture, my people, and my history. I have always been prud of who I am, but after seeing how hard those five families work for so little, I’m second guessing who I want to be.

Memphis, Day 4 of Spring 2010 trip

Welcome to the Official Blog of Global Visionaries!

Dear GV Community,

Welcome to the official blog of Global Visionaries! We have switched from Tumblr to WordPress in our quest to expand GV’s online presence. We hope this may become a platform for discussion, edification, enlightenment, and change.

On behalf of the Global Visionaries communications team, we hope you check in with us on a regular basis to get all the updates about what is happening with GV; both here in the United States and down in Guatemala. We are proud that our community spreads through different continents, time zones, nations, languages, and cultures. The diversity of GV’s family is a testiment to our mission to become brothers and sisters with everyone around the world.

If you are reading this and would like to contribute to our blog, do not hesitate to e-mail us at If there is anything you would like to share, please let us know right away. Thank you very much and happy reading.


The Global Visionaries communications team

Enabling young people to become global leaders, creating a just and sustainable future.