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This fundraiser ended on 06/20/10

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Global Potential(GP) is the famous flagship project of a 510(c)3 non-profit organization,Globalhood,Inc. GP is a youth Leadership development & social entrepreneurship program for low-income,urban youth aged 15 to 25 from low income & communties.

To Whom It May Concern:

Only rarely do minority youth whom are historically underrepresented have the chance to step out of their daily reality and confront privilege, power and impoverishment in a global context. Global Potential (GP) gives these youth this opportunity to transform themselves into catalysts of change. The cycle of poverty is broken through combining the untapped resources of marginalized youth with sustainable international development. GP fills a gap to empower hundreds of urban youth from low-income diverse communities around the U.S. with the skills and travel experiences to create positive change in their lives, their neighborhoods, and the global community.

GP’s model is to partner with front-line educators and urban schools in order to: create immersive and transformative experiences for participating youth; increase youth confidence and leadership skills; improve educational outcomes for low income youth; create concrete benefits for, and lifelong relationships with, the international communities where the young people work; and, to help youth identify and meet local community needs through their creation of social entrepreneurship projects. For many GP participants, field placements represent an intimate return to countries where their families have come from, or important explorations, across boundaries and assumption, into another culture.

Since the inception of our international pilot program in 2008, GP has led four additional successful trips to the Dominican Republic (DR). We continue to see incredible transformations among our youth and in the local and global communities where our youth live and work. GP has been awarded three contracts from youth-serving agencies around New York, allowing us to extend our program to GED students in Washington Heights, to truant youth in East New York, and to Transfer School students in Queens and Harlem.

Studies have long shown that service-learning and international exchange programs uniquely allow young people to grow as mature, self-confident leaders; to cultivate creative problem solving skills; to work and maintain cross-cultural relationships; and, to understand a sense of belonging in, and responsibility to, local and global communities. Such experiences also tend to ignite young people’s sense of purpose in academic engagement and confidence in setting and achieving positive long-term goals and outcomes.

But few programs currently exist for low-income youth to participate in a combination of meaningful cross-cultural exchanges, leadership development, and explorations of the world outside of the city. In response, GP is providing key services to lowest-income youth with quality educational opportunities to volunteer abroad – in solidarity with the members of communities they serve; to engage projects that confront inequity and poverty, head-on; and, to gain the skills, sensitivities, and perspective that will enable them to become leaders of positive change in their own lives, and in local and global communities.

GP has directly run its full program since its inception at its primary partner sites in Brooklyn: the Bushwick Academy of Urban Planning and the International High School @ Prospect Heights. In 2010, we have initiated a pilot project with 12 youth, in Boston, MA, at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, while having recruited an additional 24 youth in New York.

Since October 2007, we have worked with 75 youth, in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Washington Heights, and have taken 44 of them to live for with families in isolated, rural villages called ‘Bateys’ in the southwest DR, near the Haitian border, usually for 1.5 months. While abroad, our students engage in internships with local leaders, and as teams have successfully:

• Created murals, 2 municipal censuses, and community clean-up and HIV testing campaigns

• Constructed a classroom that fits over 120 students, 500 ft of sidewalk, and 2 community gardens

• Created 5 short documentaries about the Bateys (one of which was just accepted into the UN’s Plural Plus Youth Video Festival, to be screened in 15 locations globally), took family portraits, and wrote family biographies

• Designed and ran 36 daycamp sessions for a total of over 600 local children

• Planted 9000 corn stalks, 10,000 seeds for biodiesel, and did community reforestation

• Worked 120 hours at a local health clinic, 250 hours with the municipal government, and over 500 hours of tutoring and literacy classes

• Held over a dozen town-hall meetings in the villages, discussing comparative experiences of poverty, racism, and social exclusion, as well as sharing solutions

During the summer of 2009 in the Dominican Republic, our youth also organized an amazing weekend-long conference with 57 youth participants, including Haitian migrant workers, leaders from 3 different Bateys, our 18 youth and eight staff, and visiting delegates from partner organizations in Haiti and the DR. During this conference, funded through a partnership with the JUMP Foundation in Beijing, we discussed issues related to racial identity and migration.

In 2009 GP was pre-selected by UNESCO as a best practice in youth programming, was a finalist in the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund, and was invited by the Western Union Foundation to submit a proposal. GP has received commendations from local governments in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Borough President's Office and the Office of U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke) and in the municipalities we work in the DR.

We are founding members of the Building Bridges Coalition, a project of the Brookings Institute promoting international volunteering, and have been selected as a Diversity Outreach Organization by Cross-Cultural Solutions, a leader in international volunteer programs. GP’s Executive Director was invited to speak about the program to graduate classes at Columbia and New School universities, as a keynote address to the FuDan FuZhou Foundation, and on a panel on increasing diversity in international volunteering at the recent Partners of the Americas Conference in Washington, DC. In July 2009, GP’s Deputy Director Sarah Gogel was selected as a YouthActionNet Fellow by the International Youth Foundation, and field staff Sarah Gluck as a We Are All Brooklyn Fellow.

Most importantly, GP participants continue to become more optimistic about their futures, find new strength and skills within themselves, and feel that their lives have purpose. They report improved self-esteem, leadership skills, physical health, and ability for personal reflection. Our youth attain improved educational outcomes, and at one of our partner schools, five GP youth received a full-ride scholarship from the Seinfeld Foundation after going through our program.

One of GP’s NY youth recently received President Obama's “President’s Volunteer Service Award”. Furthermore, several other GP youth are being awarded $1000 from Ashoka Youth Venture for their Social Entrepreneurship initiatives. A number of other GP participants have gotten into colleges and received other scholarships. Three of GP’s youth were awarded a very prestigious prize by the United Nations for the documentary film they made while in the village in the Dominican Republic with GP last summer.

A teacher at this school said: “I really appreciate what GP is doing for our students. I think the transformations your program has created in some of them are beyond profound”. Other teachers observe among our participants an increased commitment to their education, leadership in the classroom, and engagement with subject material.

Three of our summer students, now at the University of Vermont, are beginning a GP club at their college, and we have two GP alumni interning with us as staff and facilitators. GP has started a student organization at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. GP is committed to evaluating the goals and transformations that our youth demonstrate throughout their participation in GP and years after.

With your support we can continue to see groundbreaking results, and extend the reach of our program. Global Potential seeks to bring our program, as well as to schools in the Bronx, Manhattan and other cities in the U.S.A. al community. We seek to replicate our model in other cities with traditionally marginalized youth of immigrant families (e.g. Seattle, Houston, Chicago, DC, Atlanta and Los Angeles). We will continue to work through a network of volunteers and a budget of $20,000 per 10 youth per year and half, including six-weeks in a rural village of a country most relevant to the overall diasporic communities of the youth.

The current cost of an intensive year and a half of training and field placement is approximately $2000 per young person. This nominal fee includes airfare, local transportation, insurance, homestay fees, some staff stipends, food on the road, weekend travel, and conference fees. The low-overhead is made possible through the all-volunteer nature GP staff, administrators, and front-line educators. Each GP youth participant is engaged in raising $300 dollars toward their participation, and, in the process, gain a greater sense of responsibility in their choice to participate, in addition to training on techniques of fundraising.

Our program is run by a mix of volunteers who are professional social workers, designers, psychiatrists, and educators; and graduate students from Columbia, NYU, Fordham, the New School and Northeastern, a number of whom write their thesis work about GP. We prioritize ongoing outcome evaluation, and are partnering with the Center for Social Development at Washington University to better understand our impacts. 

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