A letter from our Executive Director to prospective GLA students, families and alumni
Dear GLA Families and Community,
Today we find ourselves more than mid-way through the summer season, a season when normally we would have hundreds of students all around the world, traveling and engaging in our service-learning programs. However, these are far from normal days. Most of us are still home as the pandemic continues to sweep the globe and in the United States, where Global Leadership Adventures’ headquarters is located. This leaves us all with continued uncertainty for the near future.
This situation we all find ourselves in, as difficult as it has been, has allowed those of us at GLA the gift of precious time. This time has allowed us the distance and space from everyday priorities. To pause. To look inward. And to contemplate how we can best continue to bring the GLA experience and mission to life in our new reality.
I personally have two young sons, and learn each day with them about the world they face. By seeing the weight of the current pandemic, protests, and politics on the next generation, both myself and the team at GLA feel more of an urgency now than ever before, as well as more assurance based on our shared mission and values, that these types of programs hold value and are critical for the development of the next generation.
When we reflect deeply on our mission — to inspire the next generation to realize their potential to transform the world and their role in it — a few things have become clear:
- Until the world reopens, borders can be freely passed, and we can safely endeavor to resume travel, our traditional work must be paused.
- In order to continue on our mission in this new world landscape, we must pivot and meet the next generation where they are — at home and online — and so are proud to be currently operating our inaugural virtual programs. In June, we launched the Online Leadership Academy, a 5-day journey, with hundreds of teens joining from around the world. Earlier this month, we launched our 6-week part-time Global Impact Virtual Internship in partnership with our non-profit service partners on the ground in South Africa. The response was so tremendous, with the first internship session filling completely, that we have added fall internship dates with new global partners that are available now. There are also new virtual programs coming soon!
- Because of the new world we find ourselves in, we know that many families may wish to stay closer to home in the future or not be able to venture as far as they may have once been able to. Over the past several months we’re proud to have developed 12 new programs in the United States for travel in 2021, exclusively for teens. These are in GLA’s home country and where many of our students who join us originate. We’ve long wanted to bring our work “closer to home” and this new world has allowed us to finally do so. These purposeful programs in our backyard allow us to journey to some of the greatest locales in this diverse country of ours, while diving into our learning themes, giving back to communities, and discovering our penchant for leadership. We are so excited to introduce these programs to you and your family.
- Given the social movements we have seen in so far in 2020, we’re also looking forward to offering crucial learning around new themes such as social justice and global seminar. For social justice, we invite students to come together with like-minded teens to address challenges through community engagement and solution-oriented initiatives. And for global seminar, we invite participants to facilitate discussions on relevant topics with their peers, and engage in friendly debates on critical issues of the day.
Here I would like to share with you our new digital 2020/2021 GLA program catalog with options available to you now. We have our Global Impact Virtual Internship with 5 focus areas available now open for registration for Fall 2020. This 6-week part-time internship facilitates students learning. It supports local non-profits organizations in our partner countries and with the NPOs we join arms with when on travel programs. This is not only an incredible educational and development opportunity for teens, it directly supports, and in many cases allows for, the viability of these global non-profits to survive during these incredibly harsh economic times.
We will be adding new virtual programs for 2021 in the coming months, but couldn’t wait to share now, as the world struggles to determine what educational options will be available for our teens this fall.
We are grateful for the connectedness we feel with our global community. We hope you will continue to join us, either virtually or in person in the future, and do the mission critical work together, to create a better world for each and everyone one of us.
Jessica Rose Miller
GLA Executive Director