Creating Global Citizens

June 25, 2014 2:53 pm Published by

Many of our recent blogs, Facebook and Twitter posts, have been about the many and various guests we have had through our campus this guest season (the time of year when our campus is full of volunteers). Most of these posts focus on all of the great things these guests have done for our children, staff and campus in general.

While all of these guests and interns have left an incredible mark on our campus this year, one of the things I am most passionate about is what they, the volunteers themselves, walk away with.

Because this trip isn’t just about what our volunteers do on campus or for our girls. It’s also about the transformation and personal growth that happens to our young volunteers. In between the cooking and cleaning, the planting and fertilizing, the tutoring and playing, we at JBFC, try to impart an important message to our young volunteers – change is possible and YOU can be a part of it.

It is our hope, at JBFC, that these teenagers return home with a new perspective on the world, a renewed belief in what kinds of change are possible, and a drive to find what their role in this changing world can be.

Through my own story, the story of how JBFC has developed, and the stories of each and every staff our visitors interact with, our volunteers see real life examples of change, empowerment and successful programming. We try to emphasize that what looks like a big, complicated system, all started with a single decision, a single action. And it’s those kinds of small steps that they are more than capable of making. To me, this is what makes JBFC’s summer program different than most voluntourism trips or mission trips. Our trip isn’t just about the two-week experience. We want our trip to plant the seeds of global citizenship for a lifetime.  

It is my hope that all of our volunteers become life-long partners in helping JBFC end extreme rural poverty, and that this experience is just the first step in helping them understand their responsibility and place in doing just that.

So, for all of you who have visited this summer- we are excited to have you as a part of our family and have truly enjoyed sharing our lives and stories with each one of you. I hope you learned more than what you thought possible and are inspired to make a change in the world wherever you are.

And for those of you, who have not had the opportunity to come and experience this one-of-a-kind cross-cultural experience, I welcome you and hope that we can one day see you in Tanzania.

Editor’s Note: For more information on volunteering at JBFC, please click here.

When he was still in high school, Chris Gates volunteered at a boys’ home in Tanzania, before going on to create JBFC in 2006. He now leads the organization as its Executive Director and spends most of his time in Tanzania.

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This post was written by Mainsprings