Solutionaries Worldwide!

This fall, solutionaries around the world are getting interested in Summer of Solutions. As we grow together across the country and make more and more connections nationally and internationally, new opportunities are emerging.

Like this one: e-GLO

e-GLO (Global Learning Opportunity) is a project inspired by the Earth Charter, an international document written to encourage “respect and care for the community of life,” “ecological integrity,” “social & economic justice,” and “democracy, non-violence & peace.” People all around the world are developing Earth Charter projects to make their communities more sustainable.

Summer of Solutions – Fayetteville, through OMNI Center’s youth program, Teen Leadership Corps, won a $300 scholarship to represent the United States in e-GLO.  I also want to see solutionary representation from other cities, not just Fayetteville, so that everyone can benefit from the materials and network. It’s truly inspirational!

In e-GLO, 30 youth from around the world get together online via a type of Skype platform.  We share our projects and inspirations, answer polls like the one above, listen to guest speakers, view video and powerpoint presentations, discuss important questions like “How do we spur the capacity for innovation among youth leaders?” There is also a very human component to the course: each time we connect, we can chat with each other, wave across oceans, and share a little about what’s going on locally. Want to participate? e-GLO #3 lasts until December 7th, 2010. Follow the course material on the e-GLO schedule. You can access the training materials, too! Or join the Facebook group and find out what people are doing around the world, via project templates, videos, and photo slideshows.

Watch e-GLO’s video here. (It’s not possible to embed the video from this website)

The course has already begun to affect the way we do Summer of Solutions here in Fayetteville.  Someone can’t attend a meeting or lacks transportation? No problem, let’s Skype them in. We don’t have access to a business trainer? Ask Hadijah, a  professional who teaches business skills in Uganda and is interested in Summer of Solutions for Ugandan youth.  Not sure about which materials to use for social entrepreneur trainings? We can now use the professionally designed powerpoints and PDFs from e-GLO to help each other learn and achieve more for the community and the planet. The biggest learning curve for me has been the access to new technology.  e-GLO really stresses the importance of social media tools, and their tutorials are engaging and encouraging.  I’m beginning to notice that technology is becoming more exciting, and a bit less threatening.

But the best part about e-GLO is the people! Our facilitators in Canada and Costa Rica, and our tech specialists around the world, are funny, helpful, and inspiring people.  The youth who participate in the program stand out as innovators guided by their passion for a more sustainable world.  Meet the e-GLO solutionaries!

This is a pic from one of our recent e-GLO sessions! Each square is a different participant from around the world.

You have everything you need, if you just believe. – “Believe” by Josh Groban

[Cross-posted from Summer of Solutions: Fayetteville’s blog]
Empowerment seems to be a unicorn; quite fanciful, out of reach, and potentially a hoax.

This summer, I realized what empowerment means: wanting something you deserve but can’t have, and to be shown how to get it for yourself.
This could be civil rights.
This could be education.
Or it could be a green job.
Do we want green jobs, really? Have we fully, deeply, and comprehensively come to understand the deprivation we experience daily: our immediate need for money, being forced to acquire money in unsustainable ways, use it to buy food that’s almost poisonous, take jobs with no concern for us, other people or the planet…it goes on and on.
My swirl of confusion in SoS Fayetteville may be caused by one simple oversight on my part: we don’t really want green jobs, because we don’t realize how much we need them.
We have television sets and cookies, how could American youth ever be deprived? For one thing, when presented with the tools of empowerment, they ignore them.

As I post this, a lady in the computer lab next to me mistook my smile as an invitation to rant about bad news: “Did you hear, 12 people drowned in Louisianna and a Conneticut gunman…” All I could think was, “And today in Arkansas a youth decided not to create a green job so that more people will drown and be shot in wars over climate change…”
When a youth becomes an entreprenuer, it’s “extraordinary”. When a youth succeeds in a career in acting, music, art, science, literature, you name it – this is considered a special case, a child prodigy, a gift from God just for him/her, or at best an ability that all other youth lack.
This is a lie.
There’s a good book called TALENT IS OVERRATED by Geoff Colvin proving that this cultural misconception needs to stop. It’s obviously disempowered too many of us.
Deprivation may be the foundation for empowerment…. but the key to empowerment is to want it.