During Student Arrival Orientation at the beginning of the exchange year, World Link FLEX and YES students are introduced to the Public Achievement Leadership (PAL) Program, an enhancement program in which students are encouraged to participate in activities which further develop their leadership skills. The program consists of earning points for activities such as sharing their culture through presentations, gaining an understanding and an appreciation for diversity, participating in school leadership clubs, and volunteering in their communities. At the end of the year, using these skills they have learned, they are then asked to complete a Global Youth Service Day Capstone Project.
This year, 75% of World Link students choose to participate and complete this enhancement program. Out of those 75%, the students with the top points accumulated for the year were invited to a special PAL Alumni Leadership Workshop in New York City from May 12th-16th, 2016. The location was set in New York City as it is home the United Nations Headquarters. Our participants visited the UN to learn about the goals and activities of this global organization. They were able to see the General Assembly in action and sit in the Security Council Chamber where the world’s conflicts are discussed.
The workshop’s focus was to further prepare these students to become successful alumni and be change-makers in their home communities. World Link invited PAL trainer Katie Raitz to lead a special project planning session to continue to develop the skills needed to effectively complete community service projects. This workshop included a debriefing session on the participant’s GYSD projects, learning about the different approaches to social justice, a brainstorming session for a future alumni project, as well as learning the importance and practicing the skills of relational meetings, teamwork and collaboration. The workshop also featured a small grants writing workshop lead by President of World Link, Curtis Stutzman to teach these future leaders how to secure funding for their future alumni projects.
World Link believes the participants are ready to return home and take on the role as program alumni. The participants believe they are ready too:
“Learning is not about going every single day at school. Thanks to this conference, I can say that, everything that I’d worry about achieving my projects back home, is eradicated. Working with wonderful people that I’ll never ever forget in my life made me realize how to get money through grants which I didn’t think about. From this conference also I feel like I improved my leadership skills through activities we’ve organized. Thanks World Link for giving that opportunity so I could see myself from different view” – Moustapha Kebe (Senegal/IA)
“I realized how small we all are and what big things we can build together. The grandeur of Manhattan overwhelms every romantic, but it was built by people, little beings that united their forces and minds to create something greater. The Statue of Liberty was made in France, but assembled in USA, and still remains a symbol of freedom and friendship between these two nations. And lastly UN that has 193 members who are willing to work together on maintaining peace and increasing the living standards. They all are great examples of why we should work together regardless of our nationality, ethnicity, race, gender or religion. The Advanced Leadership Workshop, was another way of showing us that it’s not that hard to make a change, you just need passion and perseverance.” – Gabriela Uncu (Moldova/CA)
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this amazing conference! I have experienced a huge amount of personal growth and I believe everything I learned during this conference will help me become a good alumnus. I’m very happy I got to meet some future world leaders and very inspiring people! I’m also very grateful I got the opportunity to learn how to organise projects and get the money needed to make those projects a success. Thank you World Link for being the most awesome Placement Organisation out there and helping us all become Global Citizens and future leaders of the world!” – Irfan Durmic (Bosnia & Herzegovina/IL)
It was a great conference. Moreover, it was a life lesson. It improved my communication and leadership skills and will be able to take them home. I learned that being on a team is important. It is hard to leave this conference behind, but ‘The end of something great is the beginning of an amazing new.’ It was significant life lesson, that will help me in future. Thank you, World Link for this life lesson.” – Stanislav Tkatsevich (Ukraine/CA)
“[I am] Extremely blessed to have been selected for this conference. With the newly gained knowledge and enthusiasm I believe we all will be great alumnus in our countries. Thank you World Link for this amazing opportunity. Love my PO!” – Towhidul Aziz (Bangladesh/IL)
World Link looks forward to highlighting the future successes and achievements of these new program alumni.