This February, Squads Abroad’s president, Erik Werner, sat down alongside teacher Serena and students, Grace and Patrick, from EDGE Global Microschool in Liberty, Missouri for a feature on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Radio’s “The Power of Young People to Change the World” with host, Amy Meuers.
Check out our favorite highlights from the captivating conversation:
EDGE + Squads Abroad
Serena: “I personally am so excited for this school for working with the Global Brigades
TeleSquad. It really allows me to pursue the love that I have of working with high school students in order to empower them to find their voices, become confident activists at a young age, and having the opportunities to truly learn those skills that they need to learn during high school through service projects, serving the community on both a local and global level.”
Overcoming Pandemic Challenges
Erik: “Through challenge comes opportunity and really from it was born the tele-model as a way, like I said, to involve student groups in our mission to inspire, mobilize, and collaborate with these communities to achieve their own health and economic goals… We involved over 65 schools in one year and involved over 1,600 high school students from all across the country in our international development work that may have not had that opportunity otherwise.”
Impact on Honduran Community
Grace: “We had the power to just take a normal classroom and turn it into something that is making an impact and is communicating with people who we otherwise would never have an opportunity to communicate with or have a connection to.”
Building Connections Virtually
Grace: “I was really shocked by our ability to feel a personal connection with this group of people that we, you know, didn’t have a ton in common with thousands of miles away over Zoom. Working with Global Brigades was at first worrisome, just to hear the concept, because I, and I think some of my classmates, really doubted our ability to make that connection through Zoom. However, we got deep into conversation and we talked about really personal and, big, impactful concepts, because we’re dealing with providing people with food, transportation, and education and things that are personal and really impactful.”
Patrick: “I learned that I was very lucky to have the life and community that I have here in Liberty, Missouri, but then also that there are others who need that help and assistance, and that I have the chance and the capabilities to provide that just from over a computer screen.”
Serena: “I think that if our students can take one thing which…I mean, they took so many more than just one thing from this, but whether it’s greater empathy for other people, a greater confidence in their own ability to make change, those actual skills of research and drawing conclusions, synthesizing the data and information, developing the questions that they had to develop for that community interview in those Zooms, those skills that they can then go back to when they go to future projects throughout their lives, I think that that is an incredible skill.”
Students Changing the World
Erik: “I really believe that students do have the power to make an impact and to make change. And that these are the leaders of tomorrow, these are elected officials, and professionals of the future. And for them, as Serena shared the fact that having a student that had his or her first experience interacting with someone from another culture, it’s really all those…not only the hard skills students are learning, medical skills, engineering skills, small business skills, but the soft skills and those real intangibles of the cultural competencies and the adaptability, which is really I think the value of what these programs are able to convey.”
Tap to listen to the full interview!