An open letter to our community regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Global Glimpse programs
April 12, 2021
Dear Global Glimpse Community,
One year ago we made an incredibly difficult decision to postpone all 2020 Global Glimpse travel programs. Over 1,000 students were heartbroken to learn that the international experience they had worked so hard for would not be possible. Even as we’ve innovated to create powerful global learning programs in the virtual space, we haven’t given up hope that we would be able to travel again this summer.
There is no form of education more powerful than experiential learning and there is no substitute for being together in person and we are so excited to share the much anticipated news that Global Glimpse students will be traveling this summer!
After prolonged consideration and months of planning in partnership with our global medical team, industry leaders, and our local community partners, we have decided to offer a new travel experience in Costa Rica to students impacted by the COVID-19 program postponement. This immersive travel experience responsibly balances ongoing risks related to COVID-19 with our commitment to provide young people with powerful opportunities to expand their global perspective, build critical skills, develop meaningful connections, and take action to better their communities. All 2021 summer trips are already completely full and we are so happy that students who have been through so much will finally have the opportunity that they lost so many months ago.
We selected Costa Rica as the sole destination for 2021 summer travel because it offers the necessary infrastructure to support COVID safe programming. Though vaccines may be fully distributed by the summer in the US it is very unlikely that this will be the case in the communities where we work in Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Panama and we are not willing to risk the health of our longstanding international community partners. We hope to return to our program sites in these countries for special spring break programs for additional students that missed out on travel during the pandemic in 2022.
We are deeply committed to equity and access for students from all backgrounds. In order to remove any financial burden from this already challenging situation for our students and families, we have provided an option for families who decide that an in-person international travel option is not right for them this summer or next spring to receive a full refund of all payments made to-date minus a $50 non-refundable deposit. We are the only organization that we know of in the travel industry that is providing a full refund option to 2020 students and this action has meant a great deal to our community of teachers and administrators. We were able to make this decision thanks to the incredible sacrifices of our team through this time, the confirmation of PPP loan forgiveness, and the ongoing commitment of generous supporters.
We look forward to sharing more about our travel plans for this summer and the transformative vision we are developing for the future of travel in the coming months. We are taking everything we have learned over the past year in stride and we’re doubling down on our commitment to antiracism across our organization, integrating virtual and in-person programming to drive impact, and exploring new program destinations outside of Latin America!
We never could have imagined the challenges our community would face over the past year, but we also never would have known our true strength and commitment without the trials of this time. The need for leaders that represent diverse communities and perspectives is greater than ever and as the world reopens we are deeply committed to supporting students from all backgrounds to develop the perspective, skills, and connections to drive change locally and globally.
December 15, 2020
Dear Global Glimpse families,
It has been wonderful to see so many of you in our Brave New Leaders virtual academies and at our College Summit! This year has been uniquely challenging and affected all of us in different and similar ways; through it all, it has been inspiring to feel the support and engagement of our students and families.
We are constantly reminded just how special the Global Glimpse community is. Thank you for hanging in there with us.
I’m very proud to write you (9-months after the pandemic started) to say with confidence that although Global Glimpse has had to make sacrifices this year, shore up resources, and do things a bit differently than expected; we have weathered the storm, grown stronger and more innovative, and deepened our commitment to bringing powerful leadership and global learning experiences to students from all backgrounds. Our mission has never been more important than it is today.
Below you’ll find some proud highlights and plans for the path ahead that I hope will bring a smile to your face and some hope as we look ahead to a brighter 2021!
2020 Global Glimpse Highlights & Updates:
- Powerful Virtual Programs: We pivoted to serve over 500 students through our virtual programs and found that virtual learning (when done right) can be transformative and bring students together from even more diverse backgrounds across the country to connect with the world and learn to lead with empathy.
- Fall Brave New Virtual Academy: On the heels of a deeply divided election, we were inspired to launch another Brave New Leaders Virtual Academy bringing together over 100 high school students from rural, urban, and suburban communities across the country to learn about each other, develop their empathy, engage with guest speakers from around the world, and learn to work together to address issues in their communities.
- Classroom & Teacher Support: We will be bringing our virtual programs into high school classrooms this spring to support teachers and bring their curriculum to life with real-world perspective and global guest speakers. Keep an eye out for Global Glimpse in your school this spring.
- 2021 Summer Programs: We are planning to deliver Global Glimpse programs this summer and are designing agile virtual, domestic, and international program options informed by vaccine efficacy and availability and our assessment of risk to our students, staff, and community partners. We are working closely with our global health and safety partners to monitor COVID-19 levels and vaccine distribution and we will be making final decisions on summer program options no later than March 2021. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all navigate the ongoing pandemic.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We are here to support as we all navigate these uncertain times.
September 8, 2020
Dear Global Glimpse Families,
I hope that this letter finds you and yours safe and healthy. We are coming to the end of a surreal summer. At this time we would usually be celebrating the return of our final student delegations. We would have taken a collective deep breath, hugged our incredible team members, and expressed our gratitude to the community partners, teachers, and supporters that help us open the eyes of tomorrow’s leaders each year.
But this summer is not like past summers. We haven’t breathed deeply; instead, we’ve seen the words, “I can’t breathe” take on even greater weight as long-standing inequities and injustices are exposed. We haven’t hugged one another; instead, we’ve grown to associate our health and safety with space and separation.
At this moment it is clear that we must pause recruitment and planning for our traditional international programming until borders reopen fully and we can safely deliver powerful travel experiences. We will make the final decision as to whether we can safely deliver in-person programming next summer no later than March 1st, 2021. In the meantime, we will be in communication as we closely monitor the levels of COVID-19 in the US and abroad. For currently enrolled students, we suggest you hold off on making any additional payments or fundraising towards your trip’s tuition until further notice.
At Global Glimpse, we have always believed that we are stronger together. We have worked for more than a decade to bring young people from different backgrounds together through shared experiences that build empathy, agency, and a global perspective. We teach our students that growth lies at the edge of your comfort zone, and over the past six months we have all been thrown far beyond our comfort zones. Ultimately, we’ve worked harder every day because we feel a greater urgency now more than ever before to deliver on our mission to bridge divides and support young people from all backgrounds to thrive.
Although the world has changed and with it our ability to travel, Global Glimpse’s commitment to creating spaces for students from all backgrounds to come together, share stories, develop empathy, connect to the world and learn to take action has not.
Over the summer we translated the most impactful elements of our travel programs into a live virtual experience. In June and August, we piloted the Brave New Leaders Academy bringing over 300 students from diverse high schools and communities across the U.S together to cultivate connection, inspiration, hope, and purpose.
The success of the Brave New Leaders Academy and feedback from students, families, educators, and administrators about the things that are most critical for young people in this new era inspired us to envision a new virtual program series. We are excited to launch Brave New Academies, a series of dynamic virtual leadership and global learning experiences for high school students. Brave New Academies will help students prepare for college and careers in a changing world, build meaningful connections with diverse young leaders across the country, and drive change in their local and global communities. Brave New Academies will bring the world into your home.
We are committed to providing these programs to students from all backgrounds and need-based scholarships will be available. All currently enrolled students will receive 1 Brave New Academy FREE of cost this fall. We hope you will join us!
We are grateful for the support we have received from our global community and we look forward to seeing you in a virtual program this fall!
March 19, 2020
Dear Global Glimpse community,
I write to you today to share a statement that I never imagined making in the 11 years that I have led Global Glimpse. It is with great sadness that the Global Glimpse team has made the very difficult decision to postpone all Global Glimpse 2020 international summer programs in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This decision was made in counsel with our Board of Directors, global health and safety partners, and our Medical Director.
Over the last week, it has become very clear that we are entering into a global health challenge of a magnitude that none of us has experienced in our lifetimes and the impacts will be felt in every area of our lives. At this time, Global Glimpse and the vast community that supports our work across the United States and around the world must take swift and informed action to minimize exposure and curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases. This is especially critical in the more densely populated urban communities we serve in the U.S. and in the communities where we work in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Panama that lack infrastructure and resources to respond, protect, and support their citizens in a massive outbreak.
This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make as an organization because of the heartbreaking impact on our staff, students, families, schools, and international partners. Over the past 11 years, we have maintained our commitment to access and equity and provided over $13M in scholarships to make transformative leadership and travel opportunities accessible to students from all backgrounds. As a small nonprofit, Global Glimpse has constructed our global home brick-by-brick through the dedication of thousands of volunteer teachers, alumni, families, and partners who share our vision of a world where students from all backgrounds can access the educational experiences they need to succeed and lead.
Postponing all of our summer programs puts the future of our organization at risk as we have already invested deeply in preparing for 2020 student trips. It is a risk we are willing to take because we will not put the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff or international community partners in jeopardy. Global Glimpse’s ability to navigate this challenge will depend greatly on the sacrifices of our team and the enduring belief of our community. COVID-19 has shown how truly connected our world is, illuminating inequities that we have been fighting for over a decade. The need for young people to build the skills to lead through dynamic global challenges is more important than ever and we hope that the lessons of fear and isolation will only strengthen our commitment to unity and connection.
I am hopeful that together we will not only make it through this crisis, but develop an even greater commitment to our mission to build empathy, agency, and global perspective.
Please take care of yourselves, your family, friends, and loved ones. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Comunicado a nuestra comunidad ante brote de COVID-19 y el impacto a los programas de Global Glimpse
19 de Marzo, 2020
Estimada comunidad de Global Glimpse,
Les escribo hoy para compartir una noticia que nunca imaginé cominicar en los 11 años que he estado al frente de Global Glimpse. Con gran tristeza, el equipo de Global Glimpse ha tomado la difícil decisión de posponer todos los programas internacionales del verano de Global Glimpse 2020 en respuesta a la pandemia de coronavirus (COVID-19). Esta decisión fue tomada en base a los consejos de nuestra Junta de Directores, nuestros colaboradores globales de salud y seguridad, y nuestro Director Médico.
En la última semana, ha quedado muy claro que estamos entrando en un desafío de salud global con una magnitud que ninguno de nosotros ha visto en nuestra existencia y los impactos se sentirán en todas las áreas de nuestras vidas. En este momento, Global Glimpse y la gran comunidad que apoya nuestro trabajo en los Estados Unidos y en todo el mundo deben tomar medidas y acciones rápidas para minimizar la exposición y frenar el creciente número de casos de COVID-19. Esto es especialmente crítico para las comunidades urbanas más densamente pobladas que servimos en los EE. UU. y para las comunidades donde trabajamos en la República Dominicana, Ecuador y Panamá que carecen de infraestructura y recursos para responder, proteger y apoyar a sus ciudadanos en un brote masivo.
Esta es una de las decisiones más difíciles que hemos tenido que tomar como organización debido al impacto desolador a nuestro equipo, estudiantes, familias, escuelas y colaboradores internacionales. En los últimos 11 años, hemos mantenido nuestro compromiso con el acceso y la equidad, otorgando más de $ 13 millones en becas para dar oportunidades de viajes accesibles con un programa de liderazgo transformador a estudiantes de todas las procedencias. Como una pequeña organización sin fines de lucro, en Global Glimpse hemos podido construir nuestra casa global poco a poco a través de la dedicación de miles de maestros voluntarios, ex alumnos, familias y colaboradores que comparten nuestra visión de un mundo donde los estudiantes de todos las procedenecias pueden tener acceso a las experiencias educativas que necesitan para triunfar y liderar en este mundo.
Posponer todos nuestros programas de verano pone en riesgo el futuro de nuestra organización ya que hemos invertido profundamente en la preparación para los viajes de nuestros estudiantes 2020. Es un riesgo que estamos dispuestos a asumir, porque no pondremos en peligro la salud y la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes, maestros, personal o colaboradores de la comunidad internacional. La capacidad de Global Glimpse para superar este desafío dependerá en gran parte de los sacrificios de nuestro equipo y la confianza constante de nuestra comunidad. COVID-19 ha demostrado cuán verdaderamente conectado está nuestro mundo, iluminando las desigualdades con las que hemos estado luchando durante más de una década. Hoy, la necesidad de que los jóvenes desarrollen las habilidades para liderar a través de desafíos globales dinámicos es más importante que nunca y esperamos que las lecciones de aislamiento y miedo solo fortalezcan nuestro compromiso de solidaridad y conexión entre nosotros.
Espero que juntos no solo superemos esta crisis, sino que desarrollemos un compromiso aún mayor con nuestra misión de construir empatía, impulsar acciones y perspectiva global.
Espero y confío en que se estén cuidando de sí mismos, a su familia, amigos y seres queridos. Muchas gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón.
Eliza Pesuit, Directora Ejecutiva
y el equipo de Global Glimpse