When I first entered high school, my idea of community service involved volunteering at the library and collecting cans for a food drive. Although these are undeniably good deeds, they are restrained to a local scale; I had no idea what was going on globally. Why would I? It was not like a mere 9th-grader could have made a change big enough in the world anyway. Global issues were for the big characters in the world to deal with.
Each of the years I have been in NGC has taught me how very wrong I was. NGC has truly made me a global citizen, one who is not only aware of the global issues, but also that strong individuals all around the world are making improvements, and that I too, can be one of these individuals. I learned the power of awareness, and how it can spark more individuals to make a change. I learned the importance of sustainability, without which, change would be temporary. From the advocacy and community education projects for NGC, I have developed strong leadership and public speaking skills. Such skills have proven to be extremely helpful beyond high school.
New Global Citizens is not an ordinary school club. We are youth teams spread nationally, reaching internationally, promoting a positive outlook on global change.
Kamrie and her fellow NGC Team!
This post was written by NGC Team Mentor Kamrie Yeung.
On Saturday, November 23, 2013, six students from Magnolia High School left the comfort of their beds and stepped into their backyards – America’s backyard. Magnolia High School’s NGC team had organized a Ride for Change event to ride their bikes around their local park to pass around “goody bags” for the homeless in the park. These bags, carefully arranged by the team, contained water, granola bars, and socks. These were small offerings, but like coals in the snow, a precious gift. Team leader Ailene Ortiz recounts that in this deceptively simple act, they had learned that “a small token of care can have such impact on someone’s life”. They became more aware that “poverty is happening in our own backyards, and we have the power to make a change”.
People in developed countries are often preoccupied (although sometimes rightly so) with what is going on in other countries and what is unjust in other societies that they overlook what is happening in their own backyard. Sometimes, in the midst of learning about and helping distant issues, we must remember that although America as a country is thriving, there are bubbles of poverty within itself. These are often overlooked, not receiving nearly as much care and attention as the “Red Cross” areas, and yet needing just as much. Magnolia High team’s event was sustainable, thoughtful, and enjoyable, which is what NGC, I believe, strives for our students.
Working together to educate about 1000 students and staff members, the team hosted a Jean Day where students and staff paid $1 to $5 to wear jeans on a specified day, created informational posters to hang across campus, brainstormed about global issues and used the school’s broadcast to teach students and staff.
As a form of advocacy, the students created Thank You notes for staff members who donated during Jean Day.
On an International Day, the team hosted a booth inviting classes to stop by, to participate and to learn about global issues, NGC and the team.