Tag Archives: youth

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)

“A Letter to Our Readers: GV and Me” By Samrawit Zeinu

A Letter to Our Readers: GV and Me

By Samrawit Zeinu

Meet Samrawit Zeinu. A recent GV alumni, a current youth board leader, a recent speaker at a Founders Club meeting and an all-around Global Visionaries enthusiast. As Samrawit prepares for college, she applied for the Gates Scholarship which included an essay she wrote centering around her time with Global Visionaries. With her permission, we decided to share her experiences and words about Global Visionaries with you, the readers. Enjoy!

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Question: Discuss your involvement in and contributions to a community near your home, school or elsewhere. Please select an experience different from the one you discussed in the previous question, even if this experience also involved leadership. What did you accomplish? How did this experience influence your goals?                 

Answer: One of life’s greatest moments for me happens when I am giving back to my community.  Through service to others, I am able to give thanks for everything I have been fortunate enough to have.  No one asked my aunt to adopt me.  She believed that taking me in would give me a chance to have a better life. Adopting me was no simple act and she knew she would have to take on a lot of responsibility.  This act was her way of giving back to our family and community.  She believed that if she could help me then one day I would be able to help my family in Ethiopia and my community there.   Growing up in Ethiopia, I had the humble experience of watching compassion take place between strangers.  This experience has motivated me to give back as well.

My sophomore year in high school, a youth leadership program, Global Visionaries (GV) came and presented at my school.  During the presentation the concept that stood out to me was a quote that stated, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together” by Lilla Watson.  I wanted to join the program because of its focus on youth empowerment, leadership opportunities and self-awareness. The program was more than just going to Guatemala and helping others; there was an equal exchange. Having lived in a third world country, I would have hated for someone to see me as a charity case and not someone who can also offer something in return. That was what made me want to be involved with the program.  I have been a part of this program for the past three years. During my first year with the program I met weekly with other high school students to talk about social justice; I volunteered as an intern, and went to Guatemala.

The purpose of Global Visionaries is to have students understand their ecological foot prints and where each of us is currently standing in society through monthly meetings.  I was encouraged to take on challenges to help the environment such as only taking three minute showers, not buying plastic water bottles, and recycling in my household.  It is hard to adapt, but these are changes I continue to make throughout my life.  Another part of the program included doing local community service.  I became a GV intern to give back to the community that was teaching me so much and changing how I viewed my life.  I helped with filing and organizing in the GV office and wrote thank you letters to the donors of the program.

The summer of my sophomore year I went to Guatemala with the same group of students for two weeks.  I had the opportunity to volunteer in construction to help build a local school, reforestation, or in a hospital.  I volunteered at the local hospital because I am interested in medicine. It was not at all what I had expected. Many of the patients permanently live in the hospital because they have been abandoned.  I worked in the different wards which included, babies, young children, adult men and women and the elderly.  In most cases, these patients did not have any visitors.  I will never forget the smiles that were on their faces as we met them and began to do activities with them.  In the young women’s ward, I met a woman named Wendy.  Every day she would stand by the gate and ask the name of the person who wanted to pass through.  If their name was not Wendy then she would not like it. So one day when I was passing by, I told her that my name was Wendy and in an instant, excitement overtook her.  Each day that I visited her, she would talk to me about anything that was on her mind.  Even though the language barrier made it difficult for us to communicate, it did not matter because we found a way to talk by drawing each other pictures. Before I left Guatemala, I confessed that Wendy was not my name and she told me that was okay because she liked my name too.

Through the hospital work team I learned that material wealth is not important.  It is who I am and what my beliefs are that is important.  I believe that words are not always necessary to communicate with others and it is important to not take simple interactions for granted.  The hospital work team also reinforced my goal to become a part of the health care system. The hospital I volunteered in was crowded with patients awaiting a doctor.  I know that I cannot cure every disease and treat every patient but I am willing to try. I just want to live my life accomplishing as much as I can.

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Check out a video of Samrawit!

GV Youth Leader Samrawit Zeinu shares her story:

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.

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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.

Spring Trip is Right Around the Corner

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The Spring Trip participants pose for a group shot at their recent retreat at Camp Sealth.

Global Visionaries’ Spring Trip is coming up soon; April 6th to the 19th to be exact!  This trip is another way that GV accomplishes its mission of empowering future leaders through service and cultural learning.  It offers activities such as coffee farm work, construction building classrooms, working at a local hospital, and Spanish language class.  In order to fully immerse themselves in the culture, the participants will be living with local families, working alongside Guatemalan youth that are a part of GV Guatemala, and hopefully see some historical landmarks.

But this is GV, right?  So, enough about the details and let’s hear from one of our participants: one of today’s global leaders.  I asked participant Fiona Carlile who attends West Seattle High School to share with me some of her thoughts as she prepares to leave for Guatemala.

Q: What are you most excited about for the trip?

Fiona: I’m excited to build relationships with the people at the hospital and with the other people on my work team.  I want to bond with the people there even if I can’t speak Spanish.

Q: What are you nervous about?

Fiona: I’m nervous about the fact that I can’t speak Spanish.  I’m nervous I won’t be able to communicate with my host family and build relationships.

Q: How has the experience been so far?

Fiona: It’s been really good! I’m amazed I’ve really gotten to know everyone on the team and in the GV Family.  I feel a lot better about the trip now that I know everyone.

Small Spring Trip Group
Fiona, first on the left, and her fellow Spring Trip participants prepare for their experience in Guatemala.

There’s one look at what’s racing through a participant’s mind as they prepare to go on the culminating trip to Guatemala.  The changes that have already begun to take form in these young leaders and the things they have learned so far are about to be put to the test during the Spring Trip to Guatemala, and most of them cannot wait.  Let’s continue to support them in their endeavor as the trip gets closer and closer! We are planning on keeping you up to date with the participants while they’re in Guatemala so be sure to visit and bookmark the GV blog or like the GV Facebook page.

Letter from the Executive Director

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TOGETHER.
SHAPING THE FUTURE.

“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

Greetings,

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

The Spark of Social Justice

By Noel Chapman

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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.

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.

Save the Date – GV Welcome Night

Thursday, November 29, 2012

6:30-9 p.m.

Location: TBD

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Come out and join M-Bibe and the Global Visionaries community for an evening of music and fun as you meet this year’s incoming program participants!

Parents: mix & mingle with other parents and members of the GV community including staff, interns, volunteers, alumni and more – get to know the people that your students will be working with over the next year.

Everybody else: find out more about GV and our work to empower young people to become global leaders in creating a just and sustainable future.

And did we mention there’s going to be awesome music by local musicians involved?

Suggested donation of $10 will go to support ongoing  GV program needs.

About M-Bibe

What We Do

M-bibe builds symbiotic partnerships between Northwest nonprofits, non-traditional venues, and musicians. We bring folks together to network, socialize, and raise money for a good cause while supporting talented, local musicians and their original music.

Why We Do It

We are musicians with a mission.  We care a lot about what’s going on in the world.  We realize nonprofits need funding.  We know music brings people together.  What better way to help nonprofits, support local business and musicians, and build communities by connecting all the dots?​​

Our Story

The co-founders of M-bibe met by chance in the sun-drenched region of Cappadocia in central Turkey in 2010.  Over 6,000 miles from the Northwest, they came to learn that they resided only a few miles from each other in Seattle.  With a variety of similar interests and pursuits, it seemed almost inevitable that a future project would develop between the two.  They kept in touch back in Seattle over the next couple of years and eventually realized the potential for ahigher purpose of their art; M-bibe was born!

Website: www.m-bibe.com

Previous event: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEut4ePulss

Press: www.capitolhilltimes.com/2012/09/people-wh-rock-bikes-that-roll-and-musicians-who-do-both

Mark Your Calendars: Third Annual GV Founders Club Event, September 29th!

Third Annual Global Visionaries Founders Club Event

Pitch in to support low-income and underserved youth!

At the home of Heide and Matthew Felton
300 Ward Street
Seattle, WA 98109

Saturday, September 29, 2012
6:30  – 8:30 PM

RSVP: chrisfontana@global-visionaries.org

“Meet Today’s Global Leaders”

Come experience an extraordinary interactive evening and presentation.
Find out how you can support the network our youth leaders are building in the Americas
and why these youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, but of today.

Included in our special evening:

  •           Networking
  •           Hors d’oeuvres
  •           Beer & Wine
  •           Valet Parking

Our youth leaders will host all aspects of this evening’s program including:

  •           Inspiring testimonials of how Guatemalan and U.S. youth are impacting our communities
  •           Activities uniting youth hosts & guests to explore how to create a just & sustainable future
  •           A short address by Chris Fontana , Global Visionaries co-founder & executive director
  •           An exciting new 3-minute video
  •           Questions & Answers

Final Summer 2012 Trip Update

Saludos desde San Miguel Escobar,

Just as in the beginning everything was all about firsts: first time meeting the chapines, first time meeting homestay families, first days of language school and work, now everything is the last. Here at the GV office, two large tents cover the courtyard as we prepare for our final group reflection and our Goodbye party.

Today was our last day of work, and tonight will be our final goodbye with the Chapines. We started off with a traditional burning of fireworks to celebrate Cora’s birthday. There was laughter, water fights, and some tears, but mostly we are all just grateful to be able to enjoy the brief time we have left in Guatemala.

I look forward to seeing you at the airport. I will leave you with some further updates and reflections written by our junior leaders, Reed and Ari.

ARI: It is truly a wonder to see the changes among the individuals, and the change in the dynamic of the entire group over the course of a few short weeks here in Guatemala. I remember meeting all of them together for the first time and all I could feel was a huge amount of awkwardness between everyone. Now, it’s as though that awkwardness never existed.

I wish all of you were able to see it happen with your own eyes! But you’ll definitely see the change in your children when they get home. I remember my parents telling me that when I came back from my trip a year ago, I’d transformed from a naive teenager to a young adult with convictions. It’s not hard to believe that 2 weeks here in Guatemala could do that to a person. A lot of them will come back with a whole new perspective on everything. Some of them will want to come back to Guatemala. Some of them will tell you that they’ve made some of the best friends they’ll ever meet. A lot of them (I’m hoping) will be joining Youth Board in the next year and will become future Jr. Leaders like myself.

We’ve had so many memorable moments. From water fights on the construction site, Simon and Sean’s creation of the Fun-O-Meter ranging from Malo to Bueno to Perfecto, Angela’s guitar skills, Jenna’s singing, Torin’s handstands, and Isabella’s constant hunger, and so many other things that it would be impossible to list everything, it’s easy to say that this group has made memories to last a lifetime. I’m sure everyone misses all of you, but I can say on behalf of the whole group that they’re all having the time of there lives here.

I’m honored and have been blessed with this opportunity to be a Jr. Leader for this group. I love every single one of them!

REED (written Monday):

This morning, GV participants were given the choice of either taking the morning off to be with their families or returning to the hospital (Obras Sociales Santo Hermano Pedro) in Antigua, which all participants toured on Saturday.

Yesterday, the entire group, Guatemalan teens included, took a two-hour bus ride to the Mayan ruins of Iximche. After a short session of storytelling from several Guatemalans whose families had been marginalized by the armed conflict throughout the 20th century, students got the chance to explore the ruins, with no shortage of pictures taken.

This afternoon, the entire group will get together once again for the “Coffee Tour” – an introduction to the process of coffee farming, various recent inventions for expediting the processing of coffee, and the history and politics surrounding that five-dollar cup of Starbucks coffee we bought this morning.

The preceding week was the participants’ time to fall into the rhythm of things. Nearly every weekday began with two-and-a-half to three hours in the students’ respective work teams – the Reforestation team lugged hoes, machetes, tree saplings, and five-plus-gallon water jugs up the hillside in Cerro del Nino. The Hospital team cultivated a week’s worth of compassion in a place where a single friendly touch is a rare treat for patients, as well as preparing for the tours and reflections they facilitated on Saturday for the rest of the group. The young men and women of Construction flexed and lifted away to help raise the walls of a brand new school in Cerro del Nino, and ended the week with an all-out water fight that included an ambush on the returning Reforestation team. Afternoons at the La Union language school kept students’ language skills sharp, and brief runs to nearby bakeries kept their bellies full.

After a sufficiently relaxing weekend (and Monday,) participants will return to their very last day in work teams tomorrow. For Reforestation and Construction, this will mean perhaps the most physically exhausting day yet – for Hospital, this will likely mean a day of bittersweet goodbyes.

With three days left in the journey, the entire Global Visionaries Summer 2012 group is able to reflect on the experiences that have transformed them, the hard work that has strengthened them, the cultural education that has made them more aware of their roles as U.S. Americans, and the support from one another that has pushed all of them to discover new and unexpected leadership opportunities.