Worldhealer's Teen Global Awareness Program
Worldhealer is committed to expanding the impact of the program by recruiting, training, and mentoring teens. Our goal from the inception of the university-level GAC has been to complete our student-to-student mentorship program by adding a stable teen component. This provides learning and teaching opportunities to both the university-aged students leading the program and the teens who are participating in it.
Worldhealer was created based on the belief that fostering the intellectual and personal growth of young people worldwide would encourage a positive global future of social equity and sustainable economic and community development. We want to give our teens the tools to better understand and engage with critical social issues that surround them. Our mission and purpose comes entirely from our members' own experiences and from reflecting on what we wish we would have known at their age that would have enriched our own understanding of the circumstances we have been surrounded by.
Through Teen GAC, we aspire to reduce racism and discrimination while increasing tolerance and understanding for others through a 6-week cyclical workshop program for grades 7-12. Our program focuses on the development of both soft and hard skills, along with an education in global awareness and diversity.
The goal for Teen GAC is to mimic the model we currently have with our university-aged leadership program. This means that there is a single Teen GAC Program independent from any specific school, where any teens can join. We want to reach a wider audience of teens, and connect students across race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, nationality, family culture, and schools they attend.
Our workshops have proven to foster the artistry of debate, critical analysis, and the development and articulation of an educated opinion. Each workshop focuses on a different global subject and covers a wide range of intercultural communications, sustainability, and philanthropic education topics. These teens then create and deliver lessons to elementary school students in tandem with the university-aged leaders, promoting further student ownership of the program.
During the second part of the session, the university-aged leaders team up to support the teens on a five-week term project that is presented on week six of the program that changes each term. These projects teach the teens about philanthropy, and mimic the university-aged model by focusing on academic leadership, fund development, and community marketing/outreach.
In response to the extreme turmoil in the world in 2020, Worldhealer designed a new Teen GAC program around empathy and tolerance, while also educating teenagers on the dangers of bullying and oppression. The new Teen GAC curriculum aligns perfectly with the Worldhealer mission statement to increase cultural and social awareness and is based on direct feedback received from the teens who specifically wanted to learn more about issues of social justice (ie: systemic oppression, racism, and BLM). Our Winter 2021 program on “Bullying and Oppression” introduces a concept teens are likely familiar with (bullying) and connects it to common themes like the desire for power and how to have the courage to speak out against injustice. By starting out with a more familiar topic, we can connect those common themes to broader instances of “bullying” in our society (ie: systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, etc). Learning about these issues not only educates the teens but also helps them practice an incredibly important life skill—empathy. We teach teens how to listen to others’ experiences, and regardless of their personal beliefs on these subjects, we hope they carry that skill with them to other aspects of their lives. This is the mission of Worldhealer.
The Teen GAC program is currently operating over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and is free of charge to participating teens. No application or previous experience is required to join the program.