Nonprofit Builds Global Understanding among Youth
Many SFS graduates found nonprofit organizations, but few have already done so before they arrive on the Hilltop. Jess Rimington credits Georgetown as the place where both her idea for connecting youth across borders – and she herself – gained a footing.www.oneworldyouthproject.org
When she researched colleges, SFS seemed like a perfect fit.
Rimington (F ’09) conceived of what has become the One World Youth Project (OWYP) in 2002, when she was 16. While attending a student conference on sustainable development in South Africa, she was distressed to learn as the event got underway that some of her peers wanted the U.S. delegation kicked out. She made a case for herself and stayed, but when she got home and relayed the story to American peers, she found their attitudes just as challenging as those she confronted in Johannesburg. “It made me realize that we first have to make sure youth can communicate” even if they have different cultural backgrounds, she said.
Her first endeavor – an attempt to establish a dialogue between her classmates in Massachusetts and students in Ethiopia – “failed pretty miserably,” she admitted, but she learned a lot about what training she might need. She also realized that this was what she wanted to do with her life – so when she researched colleges, SFS seemed like a perfect fit.
Rimington dove into studies as a CULP major even as she worked to build OWYP, establishing school pairings and leveraging a special partnership with Georgetown University. Today, students from 16 middle and high school classrooms participate in cross-border conversations through the organization. Guiding their engagement are college students here and on three other campuses: SFS-Q, the University of Massachusetts-Boston and the University of Prishtina in Kosovo. The program is free of charge to the middle and high schools.
In Georgetown, Rimington found a college that suited her “in ways I couldn’t realize at first. People are constantly talking about being a global citizen. I thought all universities did this!” she said.
Read more about the nonprofit at http://www.oneworldyouthproject.org.