Written by Team Mentor Kamrie Yeung irv Irvington High School’s NGC team has been thriving for many years now, and this school year has been no different. Their success is stemmed from their meticulous time management and organized events. The team leaders had designated the first semester to be focused on fundraising for their global project of the year, The Greenhouse Project. Out of the two to three they had planned, they had already held a joint-restaurant fundraiser in November of 2013. The team has plans to expand beyond service for the Greenhouse Project and on to soup-kitchen volunteering. In this way, team members would get a chance to encounter poverty in their own community and to help their neighbors with it. Yet another side project, the team will also do a Coins for Change Project, a coin fundraiser held at three to four local elementary and middle schools. The CCP would fulfill the community education part of NGC’s fundraising, advocating, and community education (FACE) mission statement. Because this project is held at elementary and middle schools, it helps with grassroots education, which would eventually accumulate as the youth group matures.

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Expanding Worlds: Fostering Innovation in Youth

Currently circulating the NGC office is an amazing story about a Sierra Leone boy, Kelvin, who reversed engineered wires/tools to create an FM radio in his country. We definitely found ourselves with tears because Kelvin is one young student who epitomizes NGC’s vision: young people fostering their ability to be leaders. In this case, Kelvin fostered such an ability under conditions that many would have seen as impossible.

WATCH HERE:

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Through NGC, students in the US can help global peers in achieving their dreams, from helping women in Afghanistan achieve their education or help children orphaned by epidemics to have equal access to education, nutrition, and more. LEARN MORE on how you and your peers can be involved. 

New Global Citizens: Westwood HS & Tolleson HS

Post written by Team Mentor Ahmad Abujbarah

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The second semester is in full swing for NGC teams all over the country, and, as usual, teams are trying to develop interesting ways to educate and raise funds for their global partner.

Hopefully, all teams are able to find strategies to raise awareness as well as simply have fun by knowing they are making a lasting change. Two teams, the Tolleson Union High School tram and Westwood High School team, have been able to fundraise while creatively teach their school on the Millennium Development Goals they and their global charity continue to tackle.

Tolleson Union High School’s NGC team ended their first semester with the wildly popular Poetry Night, where students perform musical pieces or recite poetry while the team raises money by selling merchandise, snacks, and charging a small admission fee. The Winter 2013 Poetry Night saw the highest turnout since the event’s creation in 2010 as over 80 students and teachers appeared to learn more about the Nirvanavan Foundation in India while also watching their peers on stage. Moving on from the success of their first semester, Tolleson NGC rang in the new semester with an Awareness Week to collect donations as well as further educate on the many issues the Nirvanavan Foundation combats while also telling students how their small donations and time spent listening helps create solutions for the children. Most recently, the team held a book sale to also raise funds, where students donated used books to be sold. By the looks of things, Tolleson NGC is having an excellent start so far, and the team is anticipating even more success, especially with their second Poetry Night and an Indian Culture Night.

Westwood High School’s NGC team is also doing well for itself. The team concluded the first semester educating and raising funds by hosting donut sales ever Wednesday and Thursday for about a month, which has been the team’s most successful strategy to fundraise as well as get students to walk up to their NGC table to learn more about the Millennium Development Goals and how they can be achieved. The team also sold Westwood High School themed Christmas ornaments, which was particularly creative because the team was able to tie in school spirit while also raising awareness for their cause! Plus, while doing these fundraisers, the team passes out flyers and posts posters all over the school to educate the students on the issues plaguing the world, as well encourage them to go to the NGC meeting to learn how change can be made. In the second semester, the team sold chocolate roses to raise even more funds and they aim to continue the donut sales throughout the rest of the semester. Even more astonishing, the team is planning a partnership with Westwood’s Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI), the world’s most dynamic coalition of youth volunteers, to help educate on the issues in today’s society as well as show students how their small contributions can make a huge difference.

Hopefully, all NGC teams are able to move forward this semester with new ideas that will call people’s attention to the concerns in the world. These teams show what hard work and dedication can create, and perhaps Tolleson NGC and Westwood NGC could inspire other NGC teams all over the country to find engaging new ways raise funds and educate their schools and communities!

As always, I hope for the best for all New Global Citizens teams!

Compassion: Building A Path Towards A Better Future

The following post was written by New Global Citizens Director of Programs Lisa Glenn
Lisa with her class in South Africa

Lisa with her class in South Africa

The world needs more compassion.
After graduating college, I found myself in Johannesburg, South Africa, serving out of a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship at University of the Witwatersrand.
For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people unlike me in every imaginable way–a big departure from my small town Southern upbringing. Johannesburg is a city of roughly 5 million people, and like the rest of South Africa, has eleven official languages and multitudes of ethnic and religious groups. As a newly minted college graduate, I was definitely in a world I didn’t understand.
It was easy to become disoriented, homesick, or jaded by the bustling crowds and unimaginable poverty. But in this confusing new place, I was lucky to find a friend. Elizabeth was a middle-aged teacher from Botswana also studying education with me at Wits. She was also unlike me in many ways. She had grown up in Africa in a much more impoverished situation than myself. She spoke Setswana, English, and some Afrikaans. We had very little in common from a first encounter. But on one campus bus ride home from class, we found our common ground.
“Eish, I’m so homesick!” Elizabeth said to me. “It is so hard for me to leave my family and to be so far away. But who am I to tell you? Your family is even further away than mine! Shame! How are you doing with all this change?”
From then on, we spent rides home and evenings studying and giggling like elementary schoolers.
 
Lisa with friends in Mozambique

Lisa with friends in Mozambique

Elizabeth’s friendship and compassion, so unexpected, opened me up to see the similarities between my world and the new world that I had walked into. Through such an unexpected friendship, I was able to see that my hopes and fears weren’t that unlike those of others across the world. Elizabeth wanted to finish her degree, return to her family (she had two adorable kids), and make the world a little better as a teacher. My friendship with Elizabeth taught me that compassion shown to another human can open up doors you might never imagine. 

 
Being a humanitarian isn’t about saving the world or doing all the right things. It’s about being a human who is fundamentally “for” other humans. It’s believing that we are more defined by our similarities than our differences, and that when we find those similarities, we can see each other as partners and advocates instead of adversaries or competitors.
Compassion enables us to work toward a better future for all.  

Lisa right of Nelson Mandela stature

Lisa right of Nelson Mandela stature

 
Elizabeth and I were able to live out our compassion for each other by being around when the other was homesick. Elizabeth would make me traditional Motswana food while I edited her writing (English was one of several languages for her). We would make sure to meet each other at the bus. Years after leaving South Africa, I am still struck by Elizabeth’s compassion. She now works as the Head of School at a rural school in Botswana which has been hit hard by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many of her students are orphans, many arrive without proper nutrition, and few have not been affected in some way by this terrible disease. Elizabeth lives out her days as a true humanitarian by offering compassion through the act of education to children who desperately need someone to be “for” them. 
 
Humanitarianism is ubuntu. I am because you are because we are. 
Comment to share your voice on the importance on compassion and share the post via social media with the world! 

Join NGC for Our First Global Citizen Hangout

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NGC will host Maya Ajmera, founder of the Global Fund for Children, to discuss Universal Education in the first Global Citizen Hangout.
To view the Hangout, visit the NGC Youtube site at 1:30 pm EST April 24th to watch live. Additionally, students and teachers can submit questions for Maya through NGC’s Facebook or Twitter by tagging #GCHangout. Questions should be submitted by April 23rd.

Maya Ajmera

Founder and Board Member, The Global Fund for Children

Visiting Scholar, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University

Maya Ajmera is the Founder of The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a philanthropic intermediary whose mission is to make small grants to innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. She is also the co-author of several Global Fund for Children books, including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe and Faith.

Maya serves on the boards of directors of Echoing Green, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, The Global Fund for Children, and New Global Citizens. She also serves on the advisory board to numerous philanthropic entities including the American India Foundation, Global Philanthropy Forum and the Emerging Markets Foundation.  Recently, Maya was appointed as a trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She also served as a trustee of the Blue Moon Fund.

Maya received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. 

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Student Perspective: Tolleson’s Poetry Night for ABAN

This post was put together by the team leaders of Tolleson NGC: Shirley Springer, Ahmad Abujbarah, Melissa Carrillo and Ashley Suarez.   

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For the fifth time since its creation, the Tolleson NGC team held their famous Poetry Night. The event, which lasted from 5 to7 p.m. on December 7th, was highly anticipated not only by NGC team members but also by anxious students on campus.

At 5 o’clock the New Global Citizens banner proudly greeted the Poetry Night guests and performers. Like every year, the entrance fee was $1, and all proceeds went towards the club’s project, A Ban Against Neglect (ABAN), which helps young mothers in Ghana obtain an education, maternal health, housing for two years, and job skills – all while solving an environmental epidemic. Behind the table for admission were the concessions and merchandise tables, both displaying new items being sold this year, such as bows and pencil pouches made from old shirts and sweaters. In addition, Poetry Night’s famous tea and cream puffs were being sold as well as cupcakes and cake pops.

Once everyone was situated in the overfilling room, the performances finally began. A brief introduction explaining the history of Poetry Night as well as its inception was given before the microphone was handed to the first performer.

Like every year, many students performed musical pieces and recited poetry. This year in particular featured a student, Dawn Shaw, who recited an original piece written specifically for NGC regarding the empowerment of women and ABAN, which reads as follows:

Carrying the weight like Atlas

With poise

Tackling the obstacles and struggles

With a warm heart can soothe a broken one

And still yell at the world if given the chance

Some don’t even wait they yell

To make everyone hear

Their touch can hold a newborn with ease

Their smile can tell you a story and

Their eyes can show you a million emotions

With those eyes they can

Shake you to the bone

Make you cry with them

Or laugh at life for life

A woman is all this put into one

She is not weak or worthless

Nor powerless

Woman is one word which has

A hundred meanings

Before intermission, a brief educational piece was presented to the guests about ABAN and NGC, which explained the purpose of each and their impacts. Afterwards, the remaining performances and recitals were presented. The wonderful evening came to a close with a few words from the team leaders thanking everyone who came out as well as those who participated, encouraged others to join the group, and reminded everyone of their impact in helping the young Ghanaian mothers.

Tolleson NGC raised over $300 from this Poetry Night alone, making it the most attended and most successful Poetry Night the team has seen. We will be holding another Poetry Night next semester in hopes of raising even more funds for the project as well as educating more people about the issues.