Needs Addressed & Population Served
Global Potential serves teens from low-income city neighborhoods, primarily Bushwick, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, East New York, South Bronx, Hunts Point, Washington Heights. While family love and support are often present in the home life of GP students, they are too often eclipsed by the effects of poverty–violence, drugs, and hostility–outside the home. GP’s program extends the positive, empowering messaging from their homes into the outer world. In essence, we provide at-risk young people with the tools and self-confidence to resist the negativity of their surroundings, become agents of change in their neighborhoods, and begin laying the groundwork for success in college and career.
Participants are mostly first-generation immigrant youth aged primarily 15-21. They come from hard-working families that have faced the same obstacles to success from one generation to another. Given the lack of opportunities available particularly to low-income youth, the problem has become a vicious cycle. GP aims to break that cycle.
GP views each youth as a potential leader. The personal attention of a dedicated mentor, the structured educational environment, and the international service trip form a powerful combination that helps participants discover and develop their latent leadership skills. GP’s program not only helps to directly improve the lives of program participants, but, indirectly, those of their families as well as their communities.
The first 4 months consist of 20 weekly 2-hour after-school educational training workshops on a wide range of critical social issues. Our youth think deeply about the issues being presented.
Phase 1: Preparation
Students learn the skills to succeed in the program—and well beyond. Main topic areas are: leadership, self-exploration, global awareness, community engagement and action, and fundraising.
We Begin With A Mentor Match
Upon acceptance to the program, each youth is assigned a mentor, who personally coaches the youth throughout his or her 15-month tenure. The mentor serves as a positive role model the student can turn to for help with any issues, related to the program or otherwise.
Each youth attends 20 after-school leadership development and team building workshops from March to June
Community Service Activities
Global Potential also facilitates opportunities for youth to volunteer in local community service activities, such as working in public gardens, soup kitchens, parks, hospitals, and cultural centers in New York City. In addition, Global Potential alumni (30+ of whom remain on with us as regular volunteers) organize monthly social activities, including visits to museums, movies, cultural gatherings, concerts, and sporting events.
Highlights From Phase 1
Media has played a stronger role this year than in years past. Several of our workshops are now filmed and shared on our YouTube Channel. Below you’ll find one of our recent recordings during a youth exercise in Phase 1.
Global Potential participants then experience 1.5 months of immersion in a rural village in a developing country, primarily the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua.
Phase 2: Immersion
This profound experience in shared living is fully immersive — our youth are there, in their host countries with their host families, 24/7, sharing work, meals, laughter and ideas.
A Day In The Life
Global Potential youth fill their days carrying out internships, community development, media projects, and educational workshops.
Global Potential youth are provided the opportunity to utilize the skills they learned in Phase I by traveling to a rural village of Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, or Haiti, where they are placed with a family and take part in community service, from building classrooms, sidewalks, and community gardens to teaching English, running health workshops, and managing children’s day camps. During the service trip, students witness first-hand many of the issues they studied in Phase I, and they discuss shared experiences with community members of such topics as racism, poverty, violence, health, and migration. Working closely with staff and local community members, youth devise innovative solutions to these local challenges. This phase provides each youth with valuable work experience and helps him or her focus on a possible career track; it also addresses the summer achievement gap by providing enriching learning experiences.
Students who can’t or don’t wish to travel abroad participate in local service work in New York City and take part in a Global Potential-run camping experience in upstate New York that stresses health, exercise, and self-dependence.
Overview of Phase 2
Give us four minutes and we’ll give you a quick orientation session below. More of our short films are available on our YouTube Channel.
The last 7 months include individualized and group support as well as coaching based on the passions and abilities of each youth.
Phase 3: Integration
Global Potential youth carry out their projects in their high schools and surrounding community. Each participant selects a Community Impact Project Pathway on which to focus her or his energy.
- Social Entrepreneurship: social business ventures
- Media Advocacy: photography, mural-painting, theater, documentary
- Community Service & Activism: service-learning, social justice campaigns
- School Leadership: school clubs, GP recruitment
- Internship: in GP partner sites, or directly with GP for professional development
- Health and Wellness: sports for healthier living
In close coordination with Global Potential mentors and volunteer staff, each youth conceives of, develops, and begins executing an action plan for improving their own neighborhoods using the lessons and skills acquired during Phase 2. After completing this phase, the youth receive seed funding for social ventures. During this phase, mentors and volunteers also guide individual students through the process of applying to college on an as-needed basis.
After her trip to Haiti with the Class of 2013-14, Laetitia Dorsinville made the documentary film “Keeping Us Together”. The film discusses the problems faced by the community of Terre Froide and the use of leisure activities in Haiti to keep the community together and remain interactive.