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Global to Local is an award-winning global service-learning program in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, which provides students with an opportunity to travel to a foreign country to expand their worldviews and learn about how particular communities address needs, then use the knowledge, skills and dispositions gained during travel to act as Project Managers for community impact projects in our city of Newburgh. Our program combines international service-learning, research, inquiry, and an examination of local history with local Community Impact Projects in an effort to help improve our community.
Our current project involves studying recovery and healing from trauma in two different but connected places: Cambodia, where survivors and victims’ families are struggling to heal from the Khmer Rouge-led genocide, and our city of Newburgh, which is struggling to heal from the effects of trauma created by cycles of poverty, systemic oppression and acts of violent crime.
We have partnered with Peaceworks travel to bring the 2018 Global to Local cohort to Cambodia in June. The focus of our trip will be studying recovery and healing from trauma, and we will visit sites and meet with organizations who are memorializing the Cambodian genocide, with the goal of helping our students understand how public spaces can be used as shared community resources for healing. We see a connection between the way the genocide has shaped Cambodian society and history, and the ways in which violence and trauma shape our community in Newburgh on a regular basis. While the scope of these tragedies is certainly not equal, the trauma of losing friends, family and community members to violent acts leaves young people feeling hopeless and helpless and manifests in cycles of violence and disempowerment. In Cambodia, students will build wheelchairs for subterranean landmine victims, visit memorials to the Cambodian genocide, and visit a program which supports women rescued from sex trafficking.
After returning from Cambodia, our students will work with consultants from MASS Design to design and build a public memorial to victims of trauma and violence in Newburgh, after conducting comprehensive research on the history of the region to understand factors that have shaped our city.
Through our program and thanks to your past support, fifteen eleventh grade students and five chaperones traveled to Ecuador this past summer, where they volunteered at Casa Victoria, a grassroots organization that provides after-school homework help and hot meals to underserved youth in San Roque, a struggling section of Quito. They also learned about urban and rural Ecuador, and had the chance to visit an Afro-Ecuadorian village to learn about challenges faced by people who are marginalized by both race and geography. The trip was at no cost to students and funded solely through grants and fundraising. Because the goal of our program is community engagement at the local level in the Hudson Valley, those same students, after engaging in a leadership curriculum while abroad, are acting as Project Managers for community-based Impact Projects in Newburgh undertaken by the entire senior class at Excelsior Academy this year. Check our blog for updates on the project this fall!
With support from within and beyond our school walls, we will be better prepared to look critically at their city and work to effect positive change in Newburgh. We thank you for your support of the Global to Local Program.