I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “do something every day that scares you.” In all honesty, this motto, my personal favorite, was largely a part of my decision to take a Global Citizen Year. I have lived in the same home in the same small town for all seventeen years of my life and although I manage to find ways to challenge myself, my upcoming trip to Senegal will easily be the most exciting, difficult, and frightening thing I’ve ever set my mind to.
I always knew I didn’t want to graduate and go directly back to school in the fall — I just wasn’t sure how to make any time I spent away from school productive. When I found Global Citizen Year, I realized I could not only help others and contribute to a community other than my own, but also test myself physically, emotionally and mentally and ultimately find structure within myself before continuing on to college.
When researching the program and, more specifically, the country of Senegal, I fell in love with the culture and everything the program provides for communities. My town of Gardiner, New York, however small, has always supported me. My mother runs her own business across the street from where I buy a coffee and newspaper and go to catch up with friends, right down the street from the clothing store I work at four days a week that donates used jewelry to the library where I used to go for story time every week as a kid and where I was asked to sing the national anthem with my brother and sister at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new building, built with donations from members of the community. My town has played such a strong role in who I’ve become that I’m inspired to play a strong role in what the world becomes. Senegal and Global Citizen Year provide the perfect opportunity to start.