In an increasingly global society, students today need to remain informed and active in the global issues of the world. New Global Citizens (NGC) seeks to inspire students to engage in some of the world’s most pressing issues through grassroots campaigns led by school teams. These campaigns leverage innovative connections, technologies and creativity to deliver community support, awareness, and change. Dr. David Clarke, Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources of Union County Public Schools in Monroe, North Carolina, first introduced instructor Angela Medlin, an instructor at Piedmont High School, to NGC. “He was very impressed with the global student service-learning opportunities available within the organization and wanted Union County to become involved,” said Medlin. NGC tackles projects in every corner of the world. Students help fundraise and problem solve major challenges such as child mortality, natural disasters, economic instability, limited educational access, armed conflict, and extreme poverty and hunger. “We were very excited and Skyped with Jennifer Vollman, NGC’s Executive Director, before we became involved,” said Medlin. “Jennifer was wonderful in explaining how our group could educate others about these global challenges and begin to affect change.” Shortly after, Medlin and Harris began their first team at Piedmont High School with 12 active members. The students at Piedmont High School began raising money by selling bracelets to support the House of Hope (HOH) in Uganda. HOH is an orphanage for children who have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS virus. “Being a part of a globally centered organization is a lot different than your ordinary problem, because you are forced to look past your community to the bigger issues thousands of miles away,” said Kayla Russell, a student at Piedmont High School and a member of the NGC program. Students at Piedmont and in the HOH orphanage have exchanged letters and pictures, making the project more personal and impacting for the students. “Students at HOH know they are cared about by students in very different parts of the world so they are learning the impact of globalization as are our students,” added Medlin. “HOH is very different from the service-learning projects they have worked with in the past,” said Medlin. “Not only are they raising funds to help support HOH, but they are educating their community and themselves about how to help change circumstances to make life better for others in a global manner, which is the big piece.” Students in the program act as ambassadors to the issues abroad, informing others of the challenges and hardships of children across the globe along with the grassroots support groups who are working to affect change. “Through NGC, students have been connected to and have learned about the Ugandan culture, and the health and educational system,” added Medlin. “They have also collaborated with our local elementary school students to create art that tells the story of Uganda and HOH.” While students create real change in the lives of others, it also generates an avenue to gain a global perspective in the classroom. NGC goes beyond reading a textbook or article about other cultures and governments to learning about the stories of real individuals. “NGC is also a natural fit within the classroom curriculum,” said Medlin. “We have used it to educate students about other global issues such as lack of clean water supplies, global warming and economies.” What’s more, the students feel that they are making an impact in the lives of others across the globe. The program develops students’ skills in communication, leadership, civic responsibility, creative-thinking and compassion, said Medlin. I think students too often think that their small effort will not make a difference in the conditions and challenges that other countries face but when you use that effort to educate others, it becomes a chain reaction,” said Medlin. “I have seen tremendous personal growth in our students through their participation in NGC.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. WOW! This sounds like an awesome program. I think it is so important for students to be aware of issues that are happening around the world but what an exciting idea to actually get them involved. This program definitely helps to create students who are innovative, well informed and who can hopefully empathize with what people in less developed areas must cope with to just survive from day to day.

    JS ECI509

  2. Hi there — I’m a student in Bryan Setser’s NCSU course — he’s introduced us to this blog. This program sounds really interesting. We’ve been reading Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators, which talks about how the Millennial generation very much feels that they want to make a difference in the world — that is what makes them feel passionate and engaged about things. So this sounds like a great way to leverage that and introduce them to ways in which they really can make a difference all over the world!

  3. This is such a great way to personalize the issues of the world. It’s great that the students have the opportunity to exchange letters and pictures, and really feel like they are making a difference in the world. I think this could also provide the opportunity to see similarities among groups of people that may initially seem very different. Some problems and characteristics are shared in villages, towns, or families all over the world. What an amazing experience for those students to take part in such a powerful program to encourage global citizenship.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here