Leading the Pack and Giving Thanks

Hey NGC teams, allies, and friends,

This is Ashley Mentzer, one of NGC’s team mentors. I attend ASU as a sophomore and I’m a Secondary Education English major, hoping to teach high school literature. You may be wondering, how did I come to land such a sweet job? I’ve been involved in some aspect of NGC since 2006 (dang!), from being a new member of a team to being a team leader, from serving on committees to volunteering at NGC events. All of these things range in degrees of leadership, but even if you’re a partner or a collaborator in a decision, you’re involved in a leadership action.

Many people get nervous when they think about leadership, as if it’s something you can’t tame, or a vague task they don’t know how to even start on. My advice? Lead from the bottom up and serve your team. I borrowed this idea from The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample, and I think it’s a characteristic of a good leader that you can implement today. Essentially, you should spend about 10% of your time doing things a typical boss does, like submitting paperwork and making sure you’re prepared for team meetings. The other 90% of the time you spend on your team should be devoted to making sure that you’re surrounded by the best possible teammates  you can be. Spend your time on team development and skill building, quick and appropriate feedback, and doing everything possible to help your team members grow and succeed. This doesn’t mean you have to make sure every aspect of what your teammates do is right, but empower them by trusting that the job they do is good. I hope you take this advice to heart, and I firmly believe that you can make a powerful, positive difference in your experience as a New Global Citizens team leader by directing positive attention and energy to the other awesome, dynamic people interested in supporting such a cool, youth-powered organization.

Being a team mentor is a privilege that should not go unrecognized–as a staff member I am treated with respect, kindness, and my ideas and opinions are valued. Pretty neat for a young person, huh? I strongly encourage you to stay connected with NGC through your team mentor, but also after you graduate as an Alumni member. I’ve been exposed to some awesome opportunities through my alliance with New Global Citizens and I’m proud to invest my time into something that makes a positive, sustainable change in the world.

I love my job and I’m so lucky to see the beauty in the world every day because of it.

Peace, love, and NGC,

Ashley

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Athena’s Teams :)

I am so gifted to be able to mentor such driven and passionate teams this year! New Global Citizens stands strong in the belief that the youth really can make an impact on this world, and I truly see the power of that in these teams.

The first high school I visited was Tolleson/University High. Their team is so large! It was a surprise in comparison to the 10 members I worked with when I was a New Global Citizens team.  The team leaders were so excited that at their first meeting there weren’t enough chairs for all of the prospective members; it was a great turnout! They are very passionate about their project Afghan Institute of Learning. Each student stood up and shared with the group why they had come to New Global Citizens and one student spoke about how he felt that everyone should have the opportunity to learn and how thankful he was to be given that opportunity.  It made me realize that education truly is a gift that not everyone in the world has received and it was amazing that this team truly understood that. Do you ever take your education for granted? Educating the community about their project seems to be very important to this team. Ideas such as school-wide lectures on women’s education and gender roles, afghan culture lessons, etc. were thrown around and a film was shown to allow the team to understand how far women will go to receive an education in Afghanistan. I was warmly welcomed at this school and I really appreciate that, it’s nice to have face-to-face contact for a change and I loved meeting all of the leaders Steffany, Jose Luis, and Noemi.

University High, my alma mater, had a hard time registering on account of technical difficulties but are now going strong. Their project this year is the interfaith mediation center. Nina Foushee after visiting Egypt this past summer came back to the states passionate about challenging American Islamophobia. Katherine, another NGC lead came to ASU to visit the campus and we were able to have a conversation about the importance of clearly communicating the project’s purpose to the community, which may or may not feel the issue is controversial. Tucson, AZ seems to be the perfect place to support this project though because of the strong sense of community it possesses. I was also able to meet with Nina while in Tucson to talk about goals and membership concerns. UHS is a small school so they are having a difficult time with member retention and determination but I know they’ll be able to overcome that with their excellent social networking skills.

Raymond S. Kellis had a great first meeting in which 50 people showed up. The team was very excited, and now continues to have meetings every other Thursday. They also attended the global action workshop in September, which they had a lot of fun at and met many other NGC teams. Communication has been somewhat difficult but hopefully I will be able to attend their next meeting in two weeks, I look forward to meeting the leaders: Trevor, Gloan, And Juan! They have recently chosen their project to support, and have chosen House of Hope Uganda. I wish them all the luck in beginning the process and I anticipate meeting them soon.

After numerous failed attempts I finally was able to get in touch with team PV NGC via Skype. I’m very excited for this team because they are the youngest team; team members range from middle school to freshmen in high school and are not affiliated with a school organization. The members are very involved with community service and are excited about starting NGC. They have chosen to support House of Hope Uganda as well and have recently been working on finishing their paperwork. Some of the ideas and goals they have brainstormed are gaining more membership through their neighborhood/other organizations, making ribbons to sell, and educating their peers and those who are close to them about what they are doing and gaining traction in the community. I think it’s wonderful that such young kids would be interested in global aid and activism and I excitedly await their successes.

I have encountered some serious complications in communicating with the only long distance team, Shaker high school. The last time I was in contact with them, they had chosen to support School on wheels. The past few years Shaker HS supported Center for Youth Integration in Serbia and have been very passionate about the issue of street children but because CYI has finished their grant cycle Shaker has decided to continue their aid to street children through School on Wheels. They seemed very interested in putting on a talent show to raise money for their project, but since then I have unfortunately lost all contact with them.  I’m hoping that they will decide to come back to NGC but until then, I wish them luck in their process.

The Last but certainly not least of the teams is Paradise Valley High. They are the most recently added team and I have yet to meet them. From what I can tell they are a very passionate team their prospective accomplishments include “ feeling that [they] made a difference in the world.” They have expressed some concerns regarding membership retention and time management both of which I’m sure will be clearer as the process progresses but I am also always happy to aid in anything I can.

I predict great things in the future for these teams and I’m so blessed to be able to see the power of youth activism on such a personal level.

 

Katrina’s October Updates

Since my first involvement with New Global Citizens at the team mentor training, I have endured in much learning, growing and companionship with New Global Citizens. Although I had a vision on what to expect being a NGC team mentor, every expectation has been surpassed. I am very passionate in helping to create solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, therefore, it is incredible to be working with youth with that same drive. We are not alone. I focus on being the bridge in between my NGC teams and their projects. We at New Global Citizens are committed to mobilizing a generation to take action for global change. Through my communication with New Global Citizens teams, fellow team mentors, and the staff, I can tell that we truly all do feel, think, and act as a NGCitizen.

Thus far my teams have made significant forward movement. To start off with, Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona has chosen their global project to be House of Hope. House of Hope helps children orphaned because of AIDS to receive adequate nutrition, clean water, medical care, education, and the security of knowing that someone loves them. Team leader Maryam Shakir is very passionate about NGC and with her experience, she is leading her team in a positive direction. Basha’s NGC team participated in their school’s Homecoming carnival, and are planning a “One Love” dance in December in hopes for a large profit.

Second, Westminister in Massachusetts has chosen the Nirvanavan Foundation as their project.The Nirvanavan Foundation is a grassroots organization working in the remote areas of Alwar district of Rajasthan on education, ecological, and social issues. Then team feels very passionate about gender equality and child prostitution – mainly why they chose this grassroots organization. Team leader Marielle Lafaire was unfortunately ill with bronchitis for several weeks, but is quickly getting back into the swing of things. The team is brainstorming fundraiser ideas to raise both awareness and money for the Nirvanavan Foundation.

Third, Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona has chosen the Al-Rowwad Theater as their project. This specific project offers children in Aida, a refugee camp for Palestinians, an alternative to violence through activities like sports, arts and theater. Through these activities, Al-Rowwad teaches children to accept others and to engage in non-violent communication. Red Mountain has been involved with New Global Citizens for years now. Team leader Madison Klug runs a team that is committed to NGC. On October 29th they participated in their school’s tailgate. Now they are preparing for their annual benefit concert to happen in early 2011 for their project. I am very excited to attend!

Last, but certainly not least, Bioscience in Phoenix, Arizona. Bioscience, with their team leader Santiago Gariepy recently joined New Global Citizens and are in the process of recruiting members. Becoming first involved with New Global Citizens is both very exciting and nerve-wrecking. Once recruiting members, they will choose their project. Although I have not had the chance to have much direct communication with the Bioscience team, I am very confident in their abilities, and look forward to working more with them.

I feel like I have been working for New Global Citizens for much longer than I have because of the progress I have seen – I love it! I am committed to New Global Citizens, and take my role very seriously. I am here to support my schools and staff, and am looking forward to November!