Swaying a Tolleson Crowd Through Friendship and Water

By Noemi A. Gonzalez, freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism – ASU

Two weeks ago, I walked onto a campus that I thought I would never set foot on again. Of course, this all changed when I received the mentor position with NGC and chose to mentor  a team made up of the most amazing teenagers anyone can ever come across with. Tolleson NGC left a legacy behind last year (I like to think so anyway since I was the Advocacy Chair) raising roots from the ground up and creating prodigious change in the lives of about 50 Afghan women through the Afghan Institute of Learning.

Now, NGC Tolleson is back, but this time they’re ready to embark on a new journey by aiding two projects located in two completely different areas of the world. Their main focus for this year is Shelter of Friendship Association located in Fortaleza, Brazil with a minor focus on The Malawi Well Project in Africa.

Two weeks ago when I walked into the meeting, I was taken aback and slightly overwhelmed with joy. Entering a dark room overfilled with students ranging in grade level — while most were sitting, others were standing in the back of room or sitting on the floor — intenty watching a video about the Favelas in Brazil (shantytowns) spurred a thought in my mind: These are the true enthusiasts the world patiently awaits for.

The video ends and Shirley Springer, team leader, begins to question the team about the videos they’ve just watched implying the need to educate the team before being able to educate the community. As Shirley looks around and silence, with the exceptions of a few laughters here and there, fills the room, there’s a sense of seriousness in the air with approximately 50 members looking around at those brave enough to speak up.

The three team leaders Shirley, Jose-Luis, and Ashlee along with Mr. Goman promoted a willingness to learn and to really understand what this years team is going to be about; they swayed the crowd to think through a realm of friendship and through a realm where water seems almost obsolete.

Educating the team was the first trajectory, however. A week later, the team created a water awareness event where they raised $180 and enticed more students to want to get involved.

Via an email, Shirley stated, “The water event actually went spectacularly well! We raised about $180 dollars on both days and seemed to get many kids interested in the cause.”

One of there upcoming events will be taking place at Heritage Square Park in Downtown on Oct. 7 alongside the First Fridays event.

Stay tuned for more Tolleson NGC news to come.