Guest contributor Wil Keenan is a program associate at Global Citizen Year.
Global Citizen Year (GCY) is building a new generation of Americans to lead the fight against global poverty. Each year, we select and train a diverse cohort of emerging leaders who will participate in a transformational “bridge year” between high school and college.
With our support, GCY Fellows defer their college enrollment and spend a year living with families and working as apprentices with community organizations in Asia, Africa, or Latin America — learning a new language, re-shaping their sense of themselves in the world, and preparing to begin college with global perspective and a clearer sense of purpose.
GCY is currently conducting a national search for its founding class of Fellows. We are looking for a diverse group of students from across the country who are passionate, idealistic and resilient, as well as excited to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Program Timeline: September 2009 – May 2010
Training: Each fall, the Global Citizen Year experience begins when GCY Fellows come together from across the United States for an intensive Training Institute facilitated by youth development experts and leading social entrepreneurs. The U.S.-based training focuses on authentic leadership development and provides Fellows with an introduction to social innovation, global systems and sustainable development. Fellows then travel in teams to country posts in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where they receive state-of-the-art language and intercultural training, and meet with local leaders across the private, public and social sectors in preparation for their community placements.
International Apprenticeships: Global Citizen Year Fellows spend six months living with a family in a rural community and supporting a local development project in education, public health, microfinance, appropriate technology or environmental conservation. Each week Fellows receive visits from their Team Leader, and each month teams come together to process and integrate their learning as a group.
Capstone Projects: As a capstone to the year, Fellows return to their US hometowns to share their experiences with others through presentations at local schools, community exhibitions, fundraisers and by working with social media and other web 2.0 tools.
Alumni Network and Support: As alumni move through college and beyond, Global Citizen Year will continue to nurture their involvement as social innovators. Alumni will have the opportunity to attend annual conferences and events designed to support their interest in development, and to connect them with internships, job opportunities and mentors across a variety of fields.
Funding for the program is determined along a sliding scale, and students with demonstrated financial need will have the opportunity to receive support from our Fellowship Fund.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 15, 2009.