GLA Ambassadors are alumni who were nominated by staff for demonstrating leadership, initiative, and enthusiasm during their time abroad. Throughout the year, these exceptional students participate in a range of activities and challenges designed to better their communities, represent GLA through various mediums, and serve as a resource to peers who are interested in following in their footsteps with their own GLA experience.
In December alone, Ambassadors were able to raise over $2,000 for the Global Leadership Adventures International Fund (GLAIF), a year-round channel for financial support to the service projects that our students become passionately involved in each spring break and summer. Ambassador and two-time GLA alum Jake Haven (Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley & Tanzania: Children's Education Adventure) wowed us with his original approach to fundraising for the Foundation: he turned his ball python breeding business into over $500 in donations by donating the sales of two of his snakes to the cause.
This month, everyone is hard at work preparing to host their respective Open Houses and represent GLA at summer fairs across the country, giving families who are interested in learning more about GLA the opportunity to speak to someone who has been there and done that. (Interested in attending? Check out the schedule here!)
GLA Ambassadors are passionate about making change, and it shows: many are very active in their own communities, combining the passion that they brought to their GLA program with the knowledge that they gained there and applying them locally to make their home communities a better place.
Jillian Myers (Thailand: In and Beyond the Classroom, 2018) returned from her program in July, but has since being back home she has continued to be involved via Girl Up, a female-geared club that promotes service, education, and leadership in girls around the world. Jillian and her classmates fundraised to provide bicycles to the very school at which she volunteered over the summer with GLA, and plans to continue fundraisers for the school in the years to come.
Cecilia Ransburg (Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley, 2018) has thrown herself into a variety of projects with Gratitude Generation, a Chicago-area volunteer and fundraising organization. From volunteering at a local senior center to fundraisers for wildfire support in California last fall, caring for her community has become a huge part of her day-to-day. This summer, she will bring that passion back overseas for her second GLA program!
In February, Emma Jazo (Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children, 2018) organized a Valentine’s Day teddy bear drive to in her home community of Phoenix, Arizona to benefit children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, collecting almost 200 stuffed animals and using her localresources to partner with a local boutique for donations and rallying her social network to spread the word through social media.
Hannah Moore (Peru: Spanish Service Adventure, 2018) has logged a whopping 137 service hours in her community since returning from her GLA program. This summer, she plans to further expand her leadership skills as a counselor at her local 4H camp as well as act as a Junior Facilitator with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, a national non-profit organization that promotes leadership, service, and innovation.
If you’re interested in picking an Ambassador’s brain, there are many ways to reach out. Our Ambassadors are active on the GLA Facebook pages, or can be found in-person at Open Houses and other events nationwide! They’re always eager to answer questions about their GLA experience!