Tag Archives: community

Summer Immersion Update – From Naomi!

Coming into this experience I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or what it would entail, but I feel as though I’m starting to catch on more. Working in the hospital again this year has been incredible. To be honest, I feel as though it has almost been a bit harder this year. For the first two days that we spent in the hospital, I found myself leaving with a sense of panic. I kept on feeling as though I had no time to spend with the patients and the friends I had created last year and also make time to create new connections. Last year I left here with the idea of applying to Youth Board, which provided me with the small sense of hope that I might return. This year, though, I realize that it would be very difficult, if even possible, to return in the coming years and visit my friends in the hospital, which is a terrifying and sad thought.

Things have been really great though overall and I’m still a bit overwhelmed and astonished that I’m actually back here. Leading is definitely more exhausting than I could ever have imagined. I feel like the Junior Leaders have many behind the scenes responsibilities, which are difficult to notice from the outside, so I don’t have a perfect image to replicate. Many of the responsibilities and tasks we have are fairly simple and would be quickly accomplished by one person, but in the effort to foster teamwork, we delegate different parts of the job to different people. It is very important and provides the participants with an opportunity to practice their leadership skills. It is just a much more tiring process when you have to delegate, check in, confirm that the job was completed, and reflect for each individual task. It absolutely pays off, though, when you see someone that was once shy and timid share, open up to the group, and blossom in the work they are doing and people they are interacting with. It really is incredible. I can’t wait to see how other develop as well.

-Naomi Rothenberg (Mercer Island High School Class of 2016, incoming first year student at Willamette University)

Advertisements

Gv’s Guatemalan Staff Visits Seattle ….Maybe Your House?

Global Visionaries has a whole team in Guatemala that works locally to ensure the experience for our participants is meaningful, safe, organized, impactful, and respects the communities we work with within Guatemala.  To improve language and professional development skills in the U.S., as well asassist in recruiting, Aurelio some of us on this team comes up to Seattle annually. I am part of that team and will be coming back to Seattle this fall. I thought it would be interesting for those involved in Global Visionaries to understand a bit of what we do while in the States. If this is helpful, maybe in the future, one of us can blog about what we do here in Guatemala as well to prepare for our programs.

First, we have to manage finances from the Guatemala side of our work. In August I will work with RoxAnne  (our COO) and Bernie, our finance manager, to get updated on the newest GV accounting system and processes as well as some operational changes that require collaboration between the Seattle and Guatemalan offices. In September/part of October I will be involved with recruiting and educating the Seattle regional high schools.  This is a great part of the trip – as we play a big role in explaining the programs to prospective students and parents. I think it is helpful and perhaps comforting for those planning to be part of the GV programs (and for parents) when the actual Guatemalan team is standing right there in front of them.

I am also looking forward to talking to some of the GV leadership, getting coaching on administrative techniques and planning. This is an important part of the program. A good administration system (financial and administrative) allows the rest of the program to work.  This help will continue to drive efficiency in how we run things in Guatemala, so we have more time continue to improve the experience for our youth participants (and those educators who accompany them).  Then, as I get this type of training, I can share with the rest of the staff in Guatemala. The kids who are involved with the program will have confidence in the program.  If they can trust in the program, they are more likely to have good feelings and want to be part of the GV program.

We are really excited for this trip to the States. Of course, that means additional logistics, including finding host families who can house us for this time in Washington.  It is actually really fun. We get to see how Americans live a little bit better – which help us improve our English and our programs in Guatemala and our hosts get a taste of Guatemala. And of course, we make good friends with our host family

If you’d like the opportunity to host one of us this year – please let the GV staff know. Contact Mario Flores at MarioFlores@global-visionaries.org If you cannot commit to the full length of stay, please indicate when you can host.

Aurelio needs hosting:  Aug 10- Sept 17
Claudia needs hosting:  Sept 7- Nov 20
Billy needs hosting: Sept 7 – Nov 20
Aurelio needs hosting:  Sept 21 – Oct 30

We hope to meet with many of you when we are up there in the late summer fall.

Aurelio Hernandez

Voices of Visionaries : Brian

“One of the greatest things I’ve taken away from the program is an increased empathy for my fellow human beings. After being in Guatemala I’ve truly gotten a sense of the fundamental value of human life. And I feel that the greatest way that I can pay that back is by becoming a physician to help save other people’s lives.”

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

“Hopeful”

My name’s Brian and I am a junior from Mercer Island, Washington. I serve as one of the Youth Representatives on the Board of Directors, meaning I go to all of the board meetings, and I help sculpt the organization. It’s an opportunity for me to give a voice of the youth to this group of adults and help shape where we’re going. Brian2What lured me to Global Visionaries (GV) was the chance to travel outside the United States and have a hands-on experience in a foreign country. The ability to work in Antigua’s hospital, for instance, seemed like an amazing opportunity to give back, and was well-suited to my interest in becoming a physician. One of the greatest things I’ve learned from the program is an increased empathy for my fellow human beings. After working in the hospital, I gained a sense of the fundamental value of human life, as well as an increased drive to make an impact on the world. And I feel that the best way I can contribute to our global society is by practicing medicine.

I’ve never been completely comfortable in my own skin, but once I got to Guatemala and started interacting with my peers in the cohort, I felt that any semblance of inadequacy melted away. The atmosphere that GV creates is one of true community. I never worried what people thought of me, and I knew that they had my back. I carry this warmth with me wherever I go now, knowing that I have this bond with my peers from GV, even though we may go down different paths in our lives.

One element that is absolutely vital to the essence of GV is its 50-50 model — the idea 50 percent of participants should be from low-income families, and 50 percent not. I didn’t initially understand what that offered to the organization, but once I was actually engaged in discussions with the group, it dawned on me. Our discussions would have been so much more superficial without that diversity. Having a broad spectrum of participants brings a wealth of perspectives and first-hand knowledge that is genuinely powerful, and it had a profound effect on me.

I’m very drawn to the GV philosophy. Because I love both biology and analogies, I think of GV as a treatment for the underlying cause of many of the world’s social ills, rather than just a palliative for symptoms. After a virus enters its host, it begins exponentially multiplying itself and vying for control of the body, resulting in a cluster of symptoms that do further damage to the body. We have racial and religious conflicts, famine, suffering. Our world has all these symptoms, but behind them is a virus, a root cause. It can be tempting to pour all of our resources into fighting the symptoms, but unless we remove the core causes, the symptoms will just resurface. GV attacks the virus, not the symptoms, and I think that is an inspiring mission.

Due to the fact that donors are giving GV funds for low income youth scholarships , there’s such a huge diversity and broad spectrum of people from all walks of life coming together to share their perspectives. I found that I was incredibly impacted by all these people’s viewpoints, and all of their takes on these different issues. It truly broadened my horizons by meeting these people that I wouldn’t normally. Having them come into the organization, and being able to forge a bond with them, definitely broadened my horizons. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in a life-changing experience.

From Guatemala to Seattle: My Journey in Understanding Social Justice

IMG_4320

By Simone Evans

My experience in Guatemala was unforgettable. Volunteering at the hospital, dinner conversations with my host family that lasted for hours, and coming together with my peers was a transformative experience and changed me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. When I got home, I felt very inspired by my experience in Guatemala but I didn’t know what to do with these feelings. I wasn’t sure what the impact of the immersion would be on my life.

That changed when I attended a week-long workshop at The Tyree Scott Freedom School. It is a program the focuses on educating and teaching youth about oppression within our community towards people of color. Through activities and conversations at the Freedom School, I learned about injustice and the oppression facing others. We evaluated how racism is still prevalent today in the prison system, education system, and in our community. It was mind blasting because I thought I was aware of most injustices people of color were facing, but I learned that racism is more pervasive than I’ve ever known. The school was primary African American youth, but there were people of other ethnicities there as well. We did a power shuffle where they asked questions about our home life, and experiences we’ve faced in the world. Some questions like  “Do your parents own a house?” took you a step forward; other questions like “Were you surrounded by drugs?” took you a step back. By the end of the power shuffle, I was shocked. I am mixed race and I found myself in the middle of the spectrum, all of the Caucasian people were in the front, and most darker-skinned individuals were in the back. That was when the reality of our world hit me. I’ve always felt sympathy and empathy for others but now I understand oppression and struggle on a deeper level. I am more aware of the suffering of humankind; I now see innocent people are dying day by day, in situations similar to our fictional gruesome movies. Now, I am able to put myself in other people’s shoes and try to feel what others might be feeling as the result of oppression. Fighting oppression is something that has become very important to me, and I don’t think I would’ve ever felt this passionate without experiencing or seeing these things first hand.

I have continued to pursue this passion for social justice as a member of the Pro Justice team on the Youth Board. We are working to identify oppression issues in our everyday lives and learning how to address them. Our goal is our title, Pro Justice: to create a world where we all live equal amongst one another. A world where we aren’t judged by the way we were born. We are creating awareness, and although people may say, “you can’t change the world,” by every person we inspire, that’s one more person on the side of equality, one more person to spread the word. These experiences helped me realize the life I truly want to live, and the people that I want to live it with me. My experience with Global Visionaries and the Freedom School opened these doors for me and for that, I cannot thank them enough.

Noah Zeichner featured in Rethinking Schools’ Fall 2013 issue for his article “Rethinking Shit: Excrement and equity.”

Art By Erik Ruin
Erik Ruin

Noah Zeichner teaches the Global Leadership Class at Chief Sealth International High School, which was developed by Global Visionaries for students to have a safe environment to discuss the issues of our world today and what can be done about them. Zeichner often addresses global poverty in his class sessions, and his unit on rethinking shit has quickly become one of his favorites.

Approaching the topic of human waste is uncomfortable at best, especially in the classroom setting. However, Noah Zeichner has found a way to make a lasting impact on his students by approaching the world’s sanitation problem with an immersive perspective, by making his students delve into the topic of shit and how it affects our world. In the early moments of his class session, Zeichner shows his students a clip from the film Slumdog Millionaire of a boy delving through a latrine in Mumbai in order to meet a famous movie star. Zeichner comments, “The latrine scene is disgusting, and our natural reaction is often to laugh. It relaxes the students enough to be able to talk seriously about a seriously gross topic”.  Showing documentaries and film clips that show how truly horrific this problem is, he is able to trigger emotional reactions in his students to interest them and inspire them to learn more.

The spark of inspiration is as simple as learning key facts, such as the scary truth that 40 percent of all humans have nowhere to defecate. To those who have never had to worry about having a place to go to the bathroom besides waiting in a long line at a busy place, this fact may seem shocking and hard to hear; but for those who have to go to the bathroom in the same water they use to cook their food with, it’s all they know. However, Zeichner makes it clear that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Zeichner stresses the importance of looking at the causes and consequences of this global issue, and not just possible solutions that don’t address the root problem. Simply delivering toilets to those in need without educating them on the consequences (and benefits!) of their own human waste isn’t going to do enough. Addressing the imbalance of power and wealth within our world is a necessary step towards change. Altering our current economic policies that favor the wealthy is a crucial element to think about when discussing what can be done to help places in dire need. For Zeichner, change is a possibility through educating his students and inspiring them to educate their friends and families, to one day inspire change globally.

Here at Global Visionaries, we’re focused on the idea that youth leadership can inspire change throughout the globe, and we believe empowering today’s youth is the key to economic and social action. New and innovative ideas spread like wildfire through groups of young people who are truly inspired. We’ve found that one of the best ways to reach youth is by bringing these programs straight to their schools. To find out more about the Global Leadership Class, check out the description found on our website.

To read the full article featured in Rethinking Schools, you can subscribe via their website.

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!

EVENT DETAILS

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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

Register here

GV to Take Part in Third Annual GiveBIG Event on May 15, 2013

TSFGiveBIG2013_color_block_dateGlobal Visionaries is proud to announce that on May 15, 2013, from midnight to midnight (Pacific Time), we will once again take part in The Seattle Foundation’s third annual GiveBIG event. We are joining more than 1,300 other nonprofit organizations on this one-day, online charitable giving event, which aims to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations like GV, who make King County a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

Amplify Your Gift

Join thousands of new and returning individual donors and make an online gift to GV on May 15 and boost your donation even further through matching funds made possible through the generosity of The Seattle Foundation, individual donors, and sponsors like Seattle International Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Boeing, Microsoft, Medina Foundation, Starbucks and others.

Follow us on Facebook! Start now by “Liking” us and stay tuned for details. Share our page and help spread the word about our good work.

Remember: only donations made between 12 a.m.-12 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15 through our page on The Seattle Foundation’s website will be eligible for matching funds!

We recommend that you bookmark it so that it’s easy to find on the BIG day.

Volunteer Opportunity at GV: January 21st MLK day!

MLK_Day_of_serviceThe new year is fast approaching and that means new opportunities to volunteer! Dr. Martin Luther King day is all about giving back to your community and beyond, so why not volunteer to help beautify the GV office?

On Monday, January 21st from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. we will need several crews of people to help construct, deconstruct, spackle and sparkle up the office and work rooms.  If you need more volunteer hours, or would just like to help out, MLK day volunteerism is just for you.

For more information or to sign up to help, please contact Sara Metheny, Global Visionaries’ office manager, at officemanager@global-visionaries.org.

Can’t wait to see you all there!

A New Year, a New Group of Young Leaders

For some people, fall is about enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and jumping in piles of rust-colored leaves in the backyard.  Or pulling out scarves, hats and gloves from dusty corners of the closet and praying that the moths didn’t get to them over the summer.  For Global Visionaries, it’s about pulling out all the stops and keeping things fresh while we focus almost singularly on one endeavor: recruiting.

250 presentations in 3 weeks across 25 high schools between Kent and Port Townsend means we had over 2500 phone calls to make to prospective applicants to our First Year Leadership & Intensive programs this year.  Impossible?  Not when you have the support of our amazing GV community: over 2000 hours were put into the monumental feat that is GV recruiting season during the last few weeks by Youth Board, parents, teachers, volunteers, interns, board members and staff.

What makes it all worth it? 

Our program participants come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and about half of them are students of color.  Some of the languages you may hear spoken at our Culture Nights throughout the program year between parents and their students include those from Southeast Asia, East Africa, Eastern Europe as well as Spanish and of course, English.

“Every year, we witness first-hand families who are passionate about the GV experience and desire for their children to be a part of this program, but struggle to make it a reality financially,” says Mario Flores, GV program outreach manager.  Over 180 applications (and counting) have been received so far at this point and nearly 60% of these were accompanied by requests for financial aid.  In spite of the tough economic environment and resulting strain on traditional funding sources, GV awarded $115,000 in program scholarships for 2012-2013, up over 22% from $90,065 in program year 2011-2012.

At GV, we strive to make our programs available to all youth who desire to see a positive change in their community regardless of their financial situation.  We look forward to a future when all young people may participate in our programs without money being the primary barrier.  After all, Mario says, “we are not just recruiting participants to travel to Guatemala.  We are working to build a community that thinks actively and continues to challenge social and environmental injustices in our global community.”

Find out more about what’s new at GV by following us on our blog and on Facebook.  Or make a contribution and help support today’s global leaders.

Teach English In Mexico And Get Paid!

Hey GV alumni—are you ready for your next international adventure?

Then you should consider the Global Leadership English School, located in Temascalcingo, Mexico. Here in this picturesque town in the central Mexican highlands, you will have the opportunity to live, work, and study for a year.

The Global Leadership English School, founded and directed by former GV Program Manager Aimee Duran (previously Aimee Hibbets), is now accepting qualified candidates to teach English and leadership skills to local youth.  You can work, earn money, and improve your Spanish, all while having an in-depth, authentic experience in this small community.

For more information about the program, fees and how to apply, see the Global Leadership English School website http://globalleadershipengl.wix.com/globalleadershipengl.

Check us out on Facebook, or email globalleadershipenglish@gmail.com .