Building a Diverse Corps

Back in September when all 33 of our Fellows came together for the first time, we started off by engaging in a “crossing the line” activity where people came together and separated themselves based on experiences they had in their lives. There were moments of complete solidarity when everyone gathered on one side of the line, moments when a single pair of eyes stood staring back at their peers, and every combination in between. What was most remarkable though was the conversations that flowed for weeks and I’m sure months to follow about how those differences actually brought the Fellows together and enabled them to challenge each other and learn from one another.

The sense of connection and potential that spread from that first night was in large part due to the range of experiences and backgrounds each of our Fellows brought with them. We have cake decoration specialists, jazz musicians, trainers of guide dogs for the blind, advocates for cancer research, and fundraisers for public health efforts in Haiti. There are community organizers, political campaign volunteers, captains of athletic teams, and leaders in student government. We have Fellows that were the top of their class at school and those for whom what happened between the classroom walls didn’t always capture their imagination and attention.

In addition, this year, over 25% of our Fellows received full scholarships and over 80% received financial aid of some level.We are committed to offering that type of financial assistance again for our 2011-12 Fellows. We partner with organizations like Summer Search and College Track to identify and support applicants to ensure that our program is accessible to students from all backgrounds. We are always looking for additional partners to enable us to continue to ensure the economic and social diversity that sustains and nurtures the complex and rewarding learning experience that is Global Citizen Year.

As we begin our admissions process to select our 2011-12 Fellows, it’s that very cross section of America that we are looking for once again. One of the first things we hear from our Fellows is how at home they feel with such a uniquely talented and open-minded group. If you know someone who is first in her family to even consider college, this program is for her. If you know someone coming from a long line of Ivy League graduates, this program is for him. If know someone who works every day after school to help support her family, this program is for her. So whether you might be a student, a parent, a teacher, or a supporter of our work, let us know if you want to be part of continuing to make GCY the diverse community that it is. Feel free to comment below!