As our Fellows wrap up their Summer Campaigns this week and prepare to shift gears for Fall Training, we want to congratulate them on their hard work and dedication over the last several months. Despite a bevy of technological challenges, they’ve found innumerable creative ways to mobilize support throughout their communities — from benefit concerts to garage sales to hand-written letters and cards — and impressed us with their resourcefulness every step of the way.
In the process, a few Fellows have even attracted the attention of local media outlets, earning feature spots everywhere from Ames, Iowa to Anacortes, Washington – not to mention authoring press releases for local publications, like the one below.
Congratulations to these local stars, as well as all our 2012 Fellows across the country. We can’t wait to meet everyone at training next week!
by Priyanka Rao and Jake Stern
On August 15, fifty-seven high school graduates from around the United States will come to Stanford University—not to begin their freshman year of college, but to start their training as fellows at a groundbreaking “bridge year” program called Global Citizen Year.
Thirteen Bay Area teens will join this diverse group of “fellows” to begin training before seven months of developmental work in Senegal, Ecuador, or Brazil.
Based out of San Francisco, Global Citizen Year is spearheading a movement to immerse young adults in developing countries around the globe after they graduate high school. The program is dedicated to building a generation of global citizens. “Over time, we envision a world in which a ‘bridge year’ becomes a normal and expected step for student from all backgrounds,” said Molly Sterns, Manager of Outreach and Admissions.
A recent IIE poll suggests that Americans are increasingly isolated from the developing world. Less than one percent of Americans will ever meet any of the world’s 2.6 billion who live in extreme poverty. There is an urgent need to prepare a new generation of Americans for effective leadership in our globalized world. Few Americans possess the language skills, cross-cultural understanding, or empathy needed to create innovative, collaborative and sustainable solutions to overcome these challenges.
This is precisely what Global Citizen Year aims to create in the next generation; global competence, engaged leadership, and college readiness. The bridge year program is the very opposite of ‘taking a year off’: Fellows will travel to developing countries in September to live with a host family and apprentice in a local organization, thereby developing an ethic of service, fluency in another language, and a global perspective. Upon return, these students will be better prepared to effectively explain the complexities of international development through a profound first-hand experience.
Mariela Garcia, a recent alumna of Global Citizen Year from San Jose, has just started her first year at De Anza Community College. “My Global Citizen Year in Brazil has prepared me for college in a different way than high school did. I am more motivated now that I know exactly where I want my college education to take me. It would have taken me longer to discover that if I hadn’t taken a bridge year,” Garcia said.
Global Citizen Year invests in students like Mariela for this very reason. As Sterns explains, “Having taken a bridge year myself, I know firsthand what an impact this year can have on the way a young person approaches everything from higher education to future career goals. It’s a truly life-changing experience.”