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Global community engagement & Global Learning 


What Global Community engagement means for me is that we are getting an outlook of everything that is out there in the world, every single continent, and every single country in it. After knowing about it, we, as students, are trying to make an impact and change situations little by little in the best way possible. Global learning means that you care about your environment and other people’s way of living. My name is Lissy Ventura, and I’ve been very involved in community service and learning about global issues. I'm Dominican and lived there from birth until I was 18. When I was 16 years old, I decided to go to Barahona, Dominican Republic, with my friends and share my gratitude for life with underprivileged kids and families during Christmas. We started by doing boxes with the main food utensils a family can need to eat and survive: rice, oil, pasta, cans with fish, sugar, coffee, milk, candies, and cookies. We also collected toys for kids to play with and clothes we no longer use. 


Additionally, we would play teamwork games with the kids and talk about educational topics at an abandoned church around the area. The area we used to go to was named “ Santa Elena, Barahona, “ where many families lived on a mountain in Barahona, D.R with few resources to survive, no governmental help, and only zinc houses. Since then, we have been doing this activity for six years, and we always get more support through social media. People in this community are very humble, and we would always receive more than what we give. We would receive smiles and food such as plantains, mangoes, or cooked food as a way to tell us “thank you.” When I was 16, I discovered my passion for Global Learning and Engagement and continued getting involved during my college years. 


While in college, I participated in global involvement activities like GCE (Global community engagement) at FIU. In this organization, FIU students go to the Dominican Republic and help underprivileged kids educationally. We would do it by doing fundraising events at the hard rock stadiums almost every weekend. We would collect money to cover most organization members’ expenses, including a simple hotel, breakfast, lunch, and transportation for our trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ve participated in this activity for three years, and in the third year, I was a Co-director. We would have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the members to prepare for the trip and practice the lesson plans we would perform in the Dominican Republic. Also, some of the money collected from the fundraisings was donated to the schools where most underprivileged kids in Santiago, Dominican Republic would go, like “Hoyo de Puchula, Hoyo de Elías & acción callejera.” Hoyo de puchula and Hoyo de Elías are similar communities where people live in holes and around trash. They have schools in both communities with only one room, no AC, and insufficient technology. On the other hand, accion callejera is an institution that recruits kids from the streets and has them study and play games. 


 These kids work and live on the streets cleaning shoes and selling lollipops. We educate these kids because kids who live on the streets are very vulnerable to getting on the wrong path, like doing drugs, prostitution, or robbing. Education is mainly offered because the best way we can help these kids succeed is by giving them access to information and motivating them to be better and to see themselves reflected in us. One time a kid from Hoyo de Elias told me, “ you look like a fashion model, and I want to be like you when I grow up. “That touched me because you never know how significant you can be to those kids. They would see me, and they would see themselves reflected in the future, and I always acknowledge their vibrant spirit, genuine smiles, and unique energy.  


GCE also encouraged students to help within our community when we collaborated with Alternative Breaks last semester, and we did a beach clean-up in Biscayne Bay. With these experiences, I recognize that my desire to help within my community and abroad is immense. I also noticed how I’d been involved in Global learning since I was younger. And thanks to Goglobal FIU, I discovered that I’m very passionate about Global Engagement. For example, one of my Global Learning courses was IDH 3035, which involved innovation. The first thing that came to mind was improving education back home to avoid more adolescent pregnancy in the D.R, which is one of the countries with the highest teen pregnancy rate. When I had to choose a topic for research, I decided on the diversity of religions and how we need to respect each other. When I took an elective for my engineering major, I decided on hurricane engineering because  Miami and the D.R are located in areas where hurricanes occur, and this is one of my favorite classes I’m currently taking because hurricanes provoke economic impacts, deaths, and infrastructure debris.  


It has always been my decision to care for global awareness and perspective and engage in global issues to improve people’s quality of life. Thanks to Global learning, I was able to develop my leadership skills. Nothing would motivate me to become a leader more than the passion for helping people in need. I started with a passion for helping kids in the D.R with my Dominican friends, which I still do. Then, I participated in Global Community Engagement at FIU for two years as a member and the third year as a Co-director and became a Site Leader for Alternative Breaks. Thanks to all of these leadership positions and Global involvement, I’m getting more motivated every day to change the world little by little and to keep improving my leadership skills and enabling others to act. I’m currently a team lead for the Academy Of Leaders (AOL) at FIU. I also joined a class named the Faces of Latin America with former Vice President of Honduras Ava Rosanna Guevara, which I discovered thanks to a conference GoGloblal encourages fellowship FIU students to go to. I dream of impacting the world and advocating for human rights and those who don’t have the voice or power to stand by themselves.

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