Over MLK Jr. Day weekend- World Link brought 117 FLEX and YES students from all over the US to Los Angeles, California for the Midterm and Diversity Immersion Conference.
The goals of this weekend were to:
1. Have the students assess where they are in the program’s goals and develop a plan to meet their goals by the end of the year.
2. Give the students the tools they will need to successfully plan and implement their Global Youth Service Day project.
3. Immerse students in an activity to allow them to experience first-hand a diversity issue up close and personal.
We believe we accomplished all of those goals, plus had a little fun while we were at it!
We started the weekend by having an introduction banquet, where all the students put their name on a map from where they are from to show the diversity of countries that are part of our program. We then inspired them by showing some projects our World Link Alumni are doing back home. We finished the night with introducing the students to their PA Teaching Assistants for the weekend and giving them foundational tools to start their project planning!
Saturday began with a World Café Activity and then some project research. Many of the students got their first celebrity siting- Jungle Jack Hannah was staying at our hotel and came over to introduce himself to our group! We then took a break from project planning for the afternoon and evening to see some California sights- Hollywood Boulevard and Santa Monica Pier! Saturday ended with nailing down their project goals and having some hot chocolate and brownies!
Sunday was our diversity immersion activity. The students spent the afternoon at the Museum of Tolerance- learning about and then walking in the shoes of those that went through horrific tragedies such as the Holocaust. This experience was immeasurable for the students. They not only learned about past events, but also confronted all forms of contemporary prejudice and discrimination around the world. During the day, the students met two Holocaust Survivors and listened to their life stories. It was a truly moving day.
We finished the conference with mapping out the steps for the student’s projects, where to go from there, and tying together all they learned throughout the weekend.
Although it was a busy weekend, we could not be happier with how inspired our students are to change the world.
We want to give a big thank you to the Colorado Public Achievement Teaching Assistants and the Museum of Tolerance for doing an amazing job helping us accomplish our goals for the weekend!