Tag Archives: Global Visionaries

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)


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

Intern Insights: What Are We Doing Here?

By Noel Chapman, PR & Communications Intern

image[1] rotatedHello GV Community!

My name is Noel Chapman, and I am a PR and Communications intern.  I introduced myself at the beginning of the year (see Greetings from New GV Intern Noel Chapman), but I wanted to talk to you all in more detail about what I am doing here.

You may have seen me or my classmates around the Global Visionaries office, out and about with Earth Corps or digging in at the Local Roots farm.  We are all a part of the Humanities for Leadership Studies major at Seattle University, but what exactly does that mean and what in the world are we doing at GV?

As I said in my previous article, the Humanities for Leadership Studies (or BAHL as we call it) is a degree that studies both leadership theory and philosophy as well as practical skills that any leader should have.  This major is in direct fulfillment of the last part of Seattle University’s mission: “empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”  Sounds a lot like GV’s mission, “Empowering young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future,” doesn’t it?

One of the reasons why I love this major is the combination of theoretical discussion and then practical application.  This has occurred in many classes that I have taken for my major requirements so far and is also seen in this internship experience.  It really ensures that I am learning and remembering the information that I get in class.

During the sophomore year of the BAHL degree, we must participate in a local internship.  This is obviously a time for professional development and skill building.  However, our major does not just leave it at that!  We take a class in tandem with our internship.  Fall quarter the class was heavily informational as we learned about organizational theory and culture.  During winter quarter and now spring quarter, we are doing more application than theory as we reflect in papers and present our observations to our classmates.  We focus on applying the knowledge we gained fall quarter.

For those of us at GV, this has been such an incredible learning opportunity.  We have and continue to delve into GV’s organizational culture and how GV really works.  It has enhanced my internship experience so much! Because of the design of this educational experience, I can now say that I learned much more than those basic office skills that any intern can pick up on; I learned how to identify an underlying organizational culture and evaluate how it fits in with the every day functions of the office.

If you have any questions for me after hearing about this program, please feel free to ask (especially any interested high school students)!  I’ll be around the office Wednesday afternoons; so if you’re in, say hi. I promise, interns don’t bite!

Spring Trip: Happening Now!

Small Spring Trip GroupFor participants of the 2013 Spring Trip, Guatemala is now a reality. On April 6th, they departed on the culminating experience of all the learning, volunteering and fundraising that they have been a part of for the past months.

I know how excited and anxious I would be if I were going to Guatemala, but to get some insight into how the participants feel, I checked back in with Fiona Carlile (see Spring Trip is Right Around the Corner) to see how she felt just before embarking on her trip.

Q: As the trip gets closer, what are you excited about?  Anything new?

Fiona: I’m still excited about the same things, but everything just feels more real now.  I’m excited to build relationships with everyone involved in the trip.

Q: Again, as the trips draws near, what are you nervous about?

Fiona: I don’t want to look so American.  I want to work alongside the people there and not just fix things.

Q: How have you grown and developed personally over the span of the program so far?

Fiona: My views have definitely changed.  Originally I thought we were going to just help the people in Guatemala but now I know that we are there to work with them.  I also have a lot more confidence in myself.

Q: Have you made any lasting personal changes because of the program?

Fiona: I feel like the way that I view other people has changed.  I used to judge other people, but now I make sure that I don’t because no one deserves to be judged.

It’s incredible to see just how much can change in a person can be seen in such a short amount of time.  I know I’m excited to see how the work and learning that will happen in Guatemala will continue to shape these incredible youth, and I’m sure you are as well. We will be checking in with our participants during the trip and for a follow up after, so don’t forget to come back for the next Spring Trip installment on the GV Blog! Find us on Facebook and look for photos soon!

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.

GV in the Spotlight

It’s a great feeling to be recognized for your contributions, wouldn’t you agree?  In case you missed it, Global Visionaries was highlighted in not one, but TWO publications in the past few months.

wizard of us 2013GlobalGivingGuide_cover

Jean Houston’s “The Wizard of Us” uses the story of “The Wizard of Oz” as a backdrop to teach us about the individual’s journey of transformation; that within each of us is the potential for greatness, if we choose to unlock it.  Once we’ve liberated our inner heroes, we can use our unique gifts to make the world a better place. Sound familiar? That’s because this very premise sits at the core of GV’s mission to empower youth to bring positive change to our world.  The book spends some time showcasing our executive director, Chris Fontana, in his own journey of transformation and how Global Visionaries came to be. Learn more about the book on its Amazon page!

We’re also extremely proud to share that our partner organization, the Seattle International Foundation, gave us an honored place in their “2013 Global Giving Guide,” which, “features the work of 20 high-impact Washington state charities doing important work” and “connects caring citizens with high-impact, local organizations working around the globe to reduce poverty and improve lives.” Read more about the guide and request a copy.

Samrawit Zeinu — a Global Leader — Thanks You

Dear friends,

I am so inspired by the words of Samrawit Zeinu, a senior at Chief Sealth International High School, who has grown through Global Visionaries for three years.

I am asking you to read about her GV experience in her own words and then partner with us to empower another young leader like Samrawit today by making a gift – whether it is $10 or $100 – to empower a young person today.

Samrawit ZeinuThrough the hospital volunteer work I did, I learned that material wealth is not important.  It is who I am and what my beliefs are that are important.  Before GV, I didn’t have confidence. When I faced problems, I kept to myself.  After GV, not only did I have more confidence in myself but I am also more assertive. I am more open to feedback and I am able to speak about how I feel.  I learned that the way issues turn out depend on my reactions to them.  That made me want to change how I reacted to things.

GV changed my outlook on the world – how I perceive things should be. It hit me at my core.

It has been three years since I completed the [First Year GV Leadership Program] but the values I learned are still strong inside of me. If I catch myself complaining, I remember my brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and my friends in Guatemala don’t have enough.  I now hold myself accountable. Before when I thought about home, Ethiopia, I thought of my family. Now, when I think of my country, I think of its problems on a global scale. As a matter of fact, I think about countries all around the world. GV has made me want to contribute to the country that has made me the person I am. I intend to become a cardiovascular surgeon with Doctors Without Borders. I want to give those countries the voice they deserve.

Global Visionaries, much more than just another cultural immersion program, provides the educational and leadership platform enabling youth to develop the necessary skills to change their own habits and to transform their local and global communities through social entrepreneurship. Please give online now or mail a check to:

Global Visionaries
2524 16th Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98144

I am so grateful for your continued support. I wish you and your family a joyful 2013.

p.s. you can also see Samrawit’s full speech on video

Thank you,

Christopher Fontana, Executive Director
Global Visionaries

Letter from the Executive Director

Annual Appeal Header


“As someone from the south end of Seattle, getting to know kids from Mercer Island
along with my Cleveland High School peers is a powerful thing.
Stereotypes are destroyed and we’re better for it.”

-16 year-old Global Visionaries leader


Thank you for being a member of the Global Visionaries family. Put another way, if you are reading this, I recognize you as a Global Visionary and I am proud to be part of your family.

GV is a catalyst for uniting youth across economic and racial spectrums. Our programs invite young people to recognize and manifest the global leaders that they are. These “spectrums” rarely interact, let alone solve problems together. However, solving global problems is just one part of our mission at GV.

To accomplish this mission, our youth need your support! I ask you to make a gift now to our year-end annual campaign. By doing so, you are empowering young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future.Please “put in your grain of sand” as Guatemalans say, to enable the GV family to reach our $10,000 Annual Appeal goal.

And here’s the best part – your support will position GV to reach our 2020 Vision:

GV will serve 20% of Seattle public high school youth by 2020

That’s 2,543 youth impacted each year through peer-to-peer education.

I am excited to share with you Global Visionaries’ 2012 Annual Report. This year, we have gone paperless for both our Annual Report and Annual Appeal. I invite you to enjoy the report and to celebrate our many accomplishments.

We thank Spring 2013 participant Fiona Carlile’s fabulous father, Dave Carlile, and his team at Sublime Media, Jeanne Buchler, Ryan Moeck, Corey Campbell, Kirk Kriskovich, David Linder, and Liisa McConnell for beautifully crafting and designing our 2012 Annual Report.

Give to Global Visionaries TODAY to empower young global leaders.

I wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. We look forward to collaborating with you again in 2013!

Grateful for your endless support,

Christopher Fontana
Executive Director, Global Visionaries

New Faces at Global Visionaries!

Please join us in welcoming new staff and interns at Global Visionaries!

 Amy Maguire, Development ManagerAmy

Amy Maguire has been a fan of Global Visionaries since she was first introduced in the summer of 2004, while working as the Director of Community Development at the Seattle based non-profit Arts Corps, where she started as a founding staff member in 2001.

Most recently, she comes to us from New York, where she spent the last 8 years as the Director of Development and producer for Triple Threat TV, a documentary film and television company (shout out to TTT!!). During her years in New York, she kept her eye on GV and during a trip to Guatemala with friends last year, ended up spending the day with the GV staff in Antigua.  Her passion ignited, she was delighted when the position for Development Manager became available and is thrilled to be part of this incredible team. “It is a privilege to support this mission!”

AngieAngie Marshall, Youth Board Coordinator

Angie is a Maine native who moved to Seattle in September to begin her 2012-13 Americorps Volunteer position as the Global Visionaries Youth Board Coordinator. In May 2012, Angie completed her MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University in Worcester, MA.  She did extensive research on Green “Cluster” Development as a Research Assistant and as the Program Coordinator at the environmental non-profit The Institute for Energy & Sustainability. During her undergrad at Clark she worked at the Boys and Girls Club as the Athletics Assistant and was a research assistant at Harvard Forest.

Outside of GV, Angie enjoys soccer, lacrosse, water skiing, reading, hiking, cooking and exploring. She studied abroad in Costa Rica, road-tripped the Northwest coast, visited Spain and Greece, and has spent a month travelling around Peru. Her favorite place to be, and where she’s created her best memories and friendships is at her family’s cabin on a lake in NH. While in Washington, Angie’s trying to brush up on her Spanish language and to discover the natural beauty of the Northwest. She’s excited for the relationships and personal growth she has already gained and will continue to gather as part of the GV team!

KennaKenna Stout, PR & Communications Intern

Born in Los Angeles, Kenna Stout settled in Seattle two years ago, following a four-year stint in Olympia at the Evergreen State College. Over the years, she has worked for social justice, youth empowerment, poverty action, advocacy for the homeless and education.  Kenna currently works with children under five years old and wanted to intern with GV’s PR and communications team as the mission resonates with her. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in communication in the near future.

Kenna is an avid food blog reader, gluten free baker and experimental cook.  She also loves Chinese dim sum! Vegetarians may find it disturbing that she is enamored with cooking every inch of an animal. As an ex-vegan, she also makes a great vegan meal and loves playing with the textures and flavors of vegetables. Just don’t ask her to eat cinnamon! “I hope over the next coming months you enjoy reading GV’s blog and newsletter!”

SarahSara Metheny, Office Manager

Sara Metheny is a 2010 graduate of UC Berkeley where she focused on international development issues. Sara is very passionate about getting young people excited about global issues. You will often find her at thefront desk at Global Visionaries or running around solving problems in the office. Sara’s interests include biking, photography and philosophy and she has a strong penchant for sarcasm.

TiffanyTiffany Lumley, Assistant Program Manager

Originally from Plymouth, Michigan, Tiffany got connected with Global Visionaries through a volunteer program. She is continually energized by GV’s mission to inspire youth to seek justice in their daily lives both in their communities and abroad. Resonating with the idea that education can inspire change, she has truly valued the opportunity to co-facilitate the Pro Justice team and learn from their commitment to social change.

Growing up in a bicultural household, Tiffany has always appreciated experiences that challenge her worldview and perspective. Tiffany graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a BA in Psychology and Spanish and a minor in Organizational Leadership. When she is not at GV, you will find Tiffany outside (even after four months on the West Coast she continues to be mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains), exploring new places and in conversation with anyone.

“I am honored to be a part of the GV family this year as we continue to explore youth leaders to look beyond our immediate circumstances and grow in our global citizenship.”

The Spark of Social Justice

By Noel Chapman

photo (2)

The last thing I would have wanted to do in high school was sign up to sit in a small room for two hours every Monday night and talk about heavy subjects like sexism, racism, or ageism.  However, this is exactly what the Pro Justice Team at Global Visionaries has committed to doing.

The Pro Justice Team, or PJ as it’s normally called, consists of eight high school students from a variety of schools.  PJ is a part of Youth Board, a program for second year students who have decided to continue to be a part of GV in different leadership positions.

PJ focuses on learning about and educating others regarding “cycles of oppression and privilege” as Tiffany Lumley, Assistant Program Manager, explained.  “They focus on a different ‘ism’ each week and break it down.  They learn ways they can fight that ‘ism’.”

I had to check this out and see for myself what it was that these high school students are learning about each week, and I was blown away by the material that they were actively paying attention to.

This past week PJ had Anita Nath come in and talk to them about the work that she is doing with Unite Here, an organization that helps hospitality employees find a voice.  Anita herself is a boycott organizer and is working with the Hilton and the Edgewater boycotts and marches.

I was stunned to hear these high school students making connections between this local issue and concepts like racism, sexism, and imperialism.  I mean, imperialism?!  Isn’t that something we all learned about once in history and quickly forgot after the quiz?  Apparently not to these PJ members; they were keenly listening to every word that Anita was saying.  I could see the wheels turning in their heads as they were identifying how the abstract “isms” that they have been learning about were actually happening in their own city.

The PJ members learn a language they can use to describe social justice issues around the world.  This is a language I did not come into contact with until college.  They are able to name specific forms of oppression, utilizing labels to take the first step in social change.  To read more about the use of language and naming see former GV intern Tim Takechi’s article.

Not only is the PJ team provided with this terminology, but they are given the opportunity to pass it on to the first year participants.  PJ is in charge of one culture night of the year in which they facilitate the sort of discussions and learning that they have been exposed to the whole year.  They also are in charge of a section of the first year participant’s retreat which has been said to be one of the most powerful parts.

If you want to learn more about what the PJ Team is or get involved in what they are doing you can check out Anita Nath’s work with Unite Here at www.unitehere8.org.  Unite Here even has a Facebook page under the name Unite Here! Local 8 where you can stay updated on the events that are happening in Seattle.