Eliza Pesuit likes to rock the boat. And she’s taking high school juniors with her. Eliza is the 30-year-old CEO ofGlobal Glimpse, a non-profit organization that brings students together from diverse communities — from affluent Marin County to the South Bronx — to become change agents in their local communities and beyond. Global Glimpse takes students out of their comfort zone, pushes them to challenge assumptions and shows them that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible.
In marginalized communities, too many students with leadership potential get lost before the end of high school. Global Glimpse partners with public high schools in these low and mixed income neighborhoods to deliver a program that engages students, teachers, administrators and families.
But Global Glimpse isn’t just for students from marginalized communities — it’s for everyone. Through after school workshops and a three week structured group immersion experience in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic or Ecuador, high school juniors develop confidence and life-changing skills.
And this non-profit has a sustainable and scalable business model. Global Glimpse currently partners with 50 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, and will launch their first programs in Chicago in the fall of 2015. It is the only organization in the student travel field committed to serving low-income youth on a large scale. Since it started in 2008, the organization has grown seven fold, served over 2000 students, and provided over $3 million in travel scholarships for low-income youth. In 2015 Global Glimpse expects to serve 750 students. 96% of Global Glimpse alumni go on to college in communities where the average college attendance rate is under 10%.
Following is the Global Glimpse story, in Eliza’s words.
Shaking Things Up
Today’s youth learn about the world through media: TV, YouTube, facebook, twitter, etc. They grow up with the illusion of connection to a big world, but without personal experience. Global Glimpse gives students a doorway into another world while constantly tying this experience back to their lives in the United States. When you remove high school students from everything that is familiar and settle them in a developing country for three weeks, their common assumptions are shattered. Their perspectives on poverty and privilege, on the importance of education, and most importantly, on their ability and responsibility to effect change in the world change radically. They gain the ability to see and evaluate the world and their home communities with new eyes.
For example, we may have the illusion of racial equality in the United States, but American high schools are highly segregated. Global Glimpse deliberately shakes this up. Our groups are socioeconomically, racially and ethnically diverse. We’ll put a group of students from Greenwich together with a group from the South Bronx. It’s very rare for people from such diverse backgrounds to live together for an extended period time. We immerse them in a new reality and, through daily experiences and nightly reflection sessions, support them to understand each other, to recognize and respect their differences in backgrounds and views as well as find common ground.
We believe that closing the achievement gap requires not only providing low-income youth with opportunities that will set them on a path towards success, but also providing them with experiences that allow them to operate comfortably across socioeconomic lines. It is just as important for students from more affluent backgrounds to understand the realities low income communities face in this country as interntionally. . . . .