Why WorldTeach matters and a chance encounter….

 

Why WorldTeach matters and a chance encounter….

Posted by WTTech in Marshall Islands 28 Oct 2015
Frizz and Nolan at American University

Hello WorldTeach supporters, normally our weekly blog is reserved for insight from our volunteers and their unique experiences from their communities around the world. The content on this blog has been accumulated over 6 years with more than 450 blog posts from the tropical rain forests of Ecuador to the deserts of Namibia. The pleasure I get from reading about our volunteers keeps me connected to them even from my office in Boston.

This week, however, we’re taking a step back from the norm so I can share a little story with you from the Fall 2015 WorldTeach recruiting scene. I’m Nolan, our Director of Communications, and I oversee all of our advertising, partnerships, outreach, social media, recruiting and alumni relations. Those that know me best, know that everything I do has to have relevance or meaning and at times that’s hard to grasp sitting at a computer all day. I was lucky enough to get a reminder of why I work at WorldTeach last month at American University.

One day as we were planning our outreach schedule, Katie Fotfili (RMI ’10) informed me that one of her students from the Marshall Islands was now a freshman at American University. “How cool!”, I thought, would that be to meet and have her speak to potential applicants about WorldTeach and what it meant from a student’s perspective. Patsy Glad (aka Frizz) and I met on September 30th and began by taking an awkward picture (as she said) at the career fair. We spoke a ton during and after and she began to tell me her story. Frizz told me that education was inconsistent in the Marshalls, sometimes teachers would show and other times they wouldn’t. During her most formative years, she was exposed to (7) WorldTeach volunteers and initially her and her classmates were cautious and suspect to these “Ri-Palle” or foreigners. Over time though, Frizz realized that her teachers would be in class everyday and expected the same from their students. This mentality, this stability, this expectation was a new concept to her and enabled her to find some trust in her educators.

Over the years, Frizz became close with Katie and other WorldTeach volunteers in the Marshalls. They painted a path to her future. With the assistance of some her WorldTeach mentors, ¬†Frizz applied for a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation college scholarship and became one of the the 1,000 chosen recipients out of 57,000 applicants. Frizz received a full ride for the duration of her college study, up to if she so chooses, her doctorate. How remarkable, eh? You see, the thing is, our volunteers didn’t have some radical development plan or quantifiable way to tangibly impact their students, they simply shared with them their own fundamental characteristics such as drive, consistency, loyalty and optimism. These infectious traits paved the way to Frizz’s future, it’s that simple.

So, in DC, Frizz is currently majoring in anthropology and occasionally buskers, playing her Ukulele around town. She has lunch with Katie weekly and she became a quick friend to me. Our connection was the commonality of WorldTeach even though our backgrounds were world’s apart. I treasured meeting her and hanging out with “the kid”, it was natural and as I mentioned earlier, meaningful.

Have you ever wondered what you have to give to others? The answer is quite simple and more powerful than you know, it’s yourself. Give a bit of yourself with us and find out more about our programs at www.worldteach.org. Please email us for more information at [email protected] and a final thank you for letting me post this week even though I didn’t need permission :).

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