“Travel itself is very scarce for me, as I've never even commuted outside of the north-eastern coast of the United States. Everything from the volunteer work to the small details such as the different smells of the streets, and different tastes of the food, will be exhilarating and memorable.” -Gabriella, student at Excelsior Academy traveling to Ecuador this summer
Travel has the power to change lives. It provides an education one will never receive solely within the walls of a classroom. Beyond the personal benefits travel offers, it also encourages an interconnected and well-informed society. As the world becomes more globalized, and the need to understand other cultures and societies is vital for employment, US students are at a disadvantage when it comes to have an international education.
That is why this year, FLYTE has partnered with Excelsior Academy located in Newburgh, New York to send them to Quito, Ecuador this summer!
Newburgh, once a thriving manufacturing center on the Hudson River, has faced deindustrialization and failed urban renewal attempts that have left the town struggling both financially and socially. Complicating the matter, the Newburgh school district resides in what the FBI has repeatedly named one of the ten most dangerous cities per capita in the United States. Despite these challenges, students from Excelsior Academy are working hard to find creative solutions for helping solve some of the most pressing issues facing their community. This trip to Ecuador will help their students rethink citizenship, equity and fairness, and help them assess the way they work together to build Newburgh’s future.
Through the Excelsior Global to Local school program, 15 of the Excelsior Academy students will volunteer for ten days of service learning in Quito, Ecuador. The following fall, they will act as community impact project leaders for local, Newburgh-based service-learning projects.
“As a school, we believe that when students research, volunteer and learn about leadership, they build the skills necessary to identify issues and work towards transformative change both within and beyond their own community,” says Jacqueline Hesse, a teacher at Excelsior that will be co-leading the group of students while in Ecuador.
In Ecuador, students will volunteer at Casa Victoria, a grassroots community betterment program located in a struggling section of Quito, Ecuador. They will work with the sixty children who attend their after-school program. This opportunity will provide students with the chance to design a service project that aligns with their interests. In doing so, students will be positioned to enact meaningful change in Newburgh. The Global to Local Impact Projects in Newburgh will support the mission and vision of community members and business owners in Newburgh.
“At Excelsior Academy, we strive to create global citizens who recognize their power to enact change at both the local and global level,” said Excelsior teacher Christine McCartney.
FLYTE raised over $88,000 last year to fund two classroom trips abroad, and even funded some of our 2017 summer trip. Because of these two trips and our 2017 summer trip, 43 students will now have passports!
We still need to raise $30,000 to send the Excelsior Global to Local students to Ecuador. Not only does your donation help fund this 10 day trip, but it’s impacts continue to ripple outward into the city of Newburgh as the students come back and begin to work on their community projects. Please help this classroom go abroad and bring back the perspective and skills to change their community and their world.
Given today’s climate, it is important than ever to promote global awareness and education, and we’re proud and excited to be doing that with our next FLYTE crew students from Excelsior! If you are thinking about giving to an organization this year, please consider donating to help us take our next student explorers to Ecuador. All of the funds raised through the FLYTE Giving Global campaign will go directly towards the cost of this trip to purchase flights, meals, passports, and tours while in Ecuador. Every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small.