While there can only be one Ambassador of the Year, these two ladies truly went above and beyond in being the change and bringing passion, dedication, and positive energy to the Ambassadorship this season! Read on to find more about these changemakers.
Ambassador of the Year Runner Up: Rina Levy
Rina Levy, a well-spoken, always-smiling high school junior from Rockville, Maryland, Lover of animals and mamon verde ("like a lychee, but more tart"), and travel, Rina spent ten days in Costa Rica on GLA's Beachside Service Adventure program. In July, she will don her GLA shirt again, this time for a two-week program in Fiji.
Rina, you are really passionate about international travel. What made you catch the travel bug?
It's interesting, because I wasn't always passionate about the world. My parents love travel; my mom spends hours fantasizing about trips and researching flights, while my dad organizes and reorganizes online photo albums. I was disappointed that I wasn't as passionate about travel as they were. Tours through cities didn't appeal to me, and I felt like I was being ignorant to what the rest of the world had to offer. When I was in Costa Rica with GLA, we were dancing with a group of people in town celebrating a local holiday, and I felt myself feeling so genuinely happy. I realized that I love travel because I love people, and that this was how I wanted to see the world-- exposed to culture and the world through its people.
What issues do you think need more attention in the world today?
I took Environmental Systems & Societies class in school this year, and it has opened my eyes to just how complex our ecosystems are and how much danger they are in. My family has always conscious of basic eco-friendly practices like recycling and turning off lights--the convenient ones. I've become more fully aware of how human activity affects the natural world and how our practices can be adapted to live more sustainably. There are so many natural wonders to see around the world, and the idea that the time to see them is dwindling makes me anxious.
"I realized that I love travel because I love people, and that this was how I wanted to see the world-- exposed to culture and the world through its people."
Ambassador of the Year Runner Up: Hannah Moore
Chances are good that if you're familiar with GLA, you know Hannah in some capacity. This past year, she has been known to help out (with unflagging enthusiasm) at camp fairs, in informational webinars, and on social media as a resource for new students and families. Completing more challenges than just about any other Ambassador this year, Hannah has left quite a mark on the GLA community.
Hannah joined GLA on last summer's Peru: Spanish Service Adventure program, where she spent two weeks honing her Spanish skills and immersing herself in the local culture. A high school junior, Hannah's extra-curricular resume is impressive: leadership clubs, multiple sports, 4H, even some camp counseling on the side.
Hola Hannah! You really brought the ambassadorship to the next level this year! What inspired such passionate participation?
It was such an honor to be representing an organization that I am so passionate about and believe in so much. I didn’t want to take that opportunity for granted, and to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity. I stumbled upon GLA through a random google search and if I never found the website my life would be completely different. I am so passionate about spreading the word of GLA because I want every person know of its existence so they can change their view of the world, just like mine was.
You mentioned that your worldview has changed--how so?
I look at my everyday life differently and I take the lessons I learned with me and implement them into almost every aspect of my life. I realized how truly lucky I am in all aspects of my life, and how I want to take my future career and change the lives of those whom I met in Peru. I have created a lifetime goal of opening a pediatric hospital in an area of need in Peru. I never would have considered it a possibility before traveling with GLA, but after my experience I know it is a necessity and if I don’t do it, who will? I was shown my privilege in this world, and a fire lit inside of me to use that privilege to help those who were not given the same opportunities as myself.
"Age shouldn't stop you from leaving your mark"
What are your plans for the future? (College, major, hobbies, passions, etc?)
Next year I will serve as both Leadership Council and Future Professionals in Medicine’s President, along with the hope of finishing my last year of high school strong. In college I want to major in Biology so I can go onto medical school and become a Pediatrician. My dream is to grant health care to women and children in impoverished countries who would not have access to it otherwise. Plus travel the world, obviously. Once you get bit by the travel bug you can’t go back.
Shall we play "Complete the Sentence"?
If I could travel the world with one famous person (alive or dead) it would be..... David Dobrik. I love funny people he would totally keep me laughing the whole time, I watch his vlogs religiously.
Right now, I can't stop listening to... Shawn Mendes and Thomas Rhett. Always.
I think_____ is totally underrated. Handwritten notes and letters. I keep all the cute notes from my friends that I have received and read them when I am feeling down and it always makes me happier--text messages just aren’t the same.
My dream job is... owning my own hospital in Costa Rica. It is my favorite country ever (with the best food!)
I'm happiest when I'm...visiting the town in Maine where I grew up, which means I get to spend time with my best friend Sydney.
Young people these days are...not aware of their potential! If we put in the effort we can really change the world. Age shouldn’t stop you from leaving your mark.