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.