After one year as an NGC mentor I cant help but feel like a proud parent as I start meeting with teams again and seeing how much they have grown. Last year my encounters with leaders were full of shy faces that did not where to begin. This year the girls and boys are NGC pros; their clubs are already meeting, choosing their projects and planning events without having to ask me any questions. It is easy to tell that they have matured incredibly, and are more confident in their leadership skills. As they share with me their hopes for college, and as I talk to others who have moved on already to college, I am extremely proud of their work and of the impact NGC can have on someone’s life.
This summer I was fortunate enough to travel to Kigali, Rwanda where I too had a growing experience thanks to NGC. Kigali is home to one of NGC’s partner organizations, Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (CHABHA). This non-profit grassroots org funds four associations that are dedicated to providing children orphaned by HIV/AIDS with life skills work shops, HIV prevention classes, recreational gatherings, scholarships and more. Being a part of NGC allowed me to go live in Kigali for five weeks and work alongside CHABHA staff members. My experience volunteering with dedicated and selfless CHABHA staff members, hearing the stories of all the association members, and learning about Rwandan culture was extremely educational and fulfilling. CHABHA is now putting together a program in Kigali for young students to execute projects at the associations while staying with Rwandan families. This internship program would create yet another avenue for NGC members to expand their knowledge on global issues, and I really hope students take advantage of it.
With so many experienced leaders continuing with NGC this year I know we will have amazing results. Diamond Bar, Los Alamitos, Gunn, Independence, Calabasas, Irvington, Lick Wilmerding, and Troy HS all returned after raising thousands of dollars for various projects last year. Covina, Mitty, and Mills HS are three new teams that registered. Already most of these teams are hosting meetings, recruiting members, and choosing projects. Some projects that teams have chosen are the Solar Cooker Project in Malawi and the Center for Regional Development in Nicaragua. After witnessing these students do AMAZING things last year I cannot wait to see what is to come in the next couple months. 🙂