Monday, October 31, 2016

Fordham’s Global Outreach at a Glance

Blog by Kaitlyn Powers

Without a doubt, one of the programs that has been most transformative for me at Fordham has been Global Outreach (GO!), a service immersion organization that sends students domestically and internationally to various locations to engage with the people and the social justice issues of those particular places. Global Outreach is built on the incredibly strong foundation of four pillars that its members stand by: Community, Simple Living, Spirituality, and Social Justice. With a student leader, a chaperone, and ten team members, each Global Outreach project enables students to form a tight-knit family within the larger Fordham community. 
The GO! Mississippi 2015 team with some new friends from Mississippi.

Each project takes place over the course of either winter, spring, or summer break; in the months leading up to the project, teams learn about the culture of the place to which they will travel, the social justice issues its people face, and the history surrounding the state or country itself. Community builders, fundraisers, and retreats throughout project preparation ensure that teams are cohesive units before embarking on the journey. In addition, weekly meetings foster discussions where each team has honest and necessary conversations about impact and harm in service and humanitarian work, the differences between charity and solidarity, and how we as Fordham students can apply what we learn about communities in other places to our community back on campus. 
The school our GO! Guatemala Via International team worked with after its repainting and right before the closing celebration on our last day. 
As a confused freshman looking for a smaller community within Fordham, my first GO project to rural Mississippi at a children’s camp changed my outlook on the university, service and immersion, and my future career direction. My second GO project to Guatemala to work with school infrastructure last spring further expanded these views, and I hope to be able to find a career with the same kind of mission and approach as GO after I graduate from Fordham. The people who I have met through my time in GO are some of the most genuine people I know, and have challenged me to become more open-minded, to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and to look critically at systemic issues in our world to work for change.

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