The McKeen Center has announced its 2014 Global Citizens — seven Bowdoin students who will receive grants to spend the full summer learning through direct service in communities around the world. They are headed to Ghana, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Nepal, South Africa and Zambia to work with organizations addressing poverty, human trafficking, public health, education, and women’s empowerment.
Each of the Global Citizens crafted a unique plan, finding volunteer positions with small nonprofit organizations they discovered and contacted on their own. Janice Jaffe, associate director of the McKeen Center, said Bowdoin’s Global Citizens Grant program, in which students explore issues of public concern through immersion in grassroots organizations in communities outside of the United States, reflects the McKeen Center’s goal of pushing students to connect their passion for community engagement with their academic path. In the application and interview process, strong emphasis is placed on ensuring both that students’ proposed plans are consistent with the goals of the NGOs and with the students’ academic and public engagement experiences and trajectory.
The Global Citizens program itself was a student initiative, founded by William Oppenheim ’09. “Willy came to Bowdoin with the goal of making longterm volunteer experiences available to Bowdoin students,” Jaffe said. ³When he was a student he created the program, and the first group went out his senior year.
David Silverman ’15 will volunteer with the Amy Biehl Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. The foundation aims to enrich the lives of children in the townships around Cape Town, mainly by offering after-school programs in music, dance, drama, sports, arts and health education.
Oriana Farnham ’15 will travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to work with girls at risk for sexual trafficking or who have survived sexual abuse and trafficking. She¹ll volunteer at the Little Rose Shelter, which provides a refuge for girls and teaches them skills to become independent.
Juliet Eyraud ’16 will work for Children for Change Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a nonprofit that helps children at risk for human trafficking, poverty and sexual exploitation by giving them schooling and one meal a day. Most of the children live alongside a railway track or in shacks built close to a garbage dump.
Jesse Ortiz ’16 will work with the Social Development Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, an organization that houses and cares for children abandoned by parents who cannot provide for them.
Meredith Outterson ’17 will volunteer with a small organization called La Mariposa School in San Juan de la Concepción, Nicaragua. She will help with community development projects and tutor children.
Meghan Bellerose ’17 is headed to Kpando, Ghana, to work for UNiTED. She will focus on health outreach projects for pregnant women.
Alexander Thomas ’16 plans to volunteer with the Rwanda Zambia Health Research Group in Lusaka, Zambia, an organization that is working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDs.
In preparation for their summer immersion experiences, all of the Global Citizen Grant recipients will be mentored this spring by the 2013 Global Citizen. They will participate in regular discussions of readings and videos focused on ethical engagement in international service and on the specific issues the students will be addressing at their sites.