Service and Stowaways


Other Global Kids program features include guest speakers from organizations such as the State Department and World Bank, and field trips to visit embassies, Capitol Hill, or companies like KPMG.

Kela, a Summer Institute participant from Benjamin Banneker High School, went into the program with specific goals.

“I wanted to work on my communication skills,” she said. “And leadership skills. And foreign policy.”

Listening to State Department employees inspired Kela, who can now imagine a similarly “nomadic” future.

The DC-based portion of the program lasts four to five weeks, followed by a one- to two-week overseas service-learning project—all costs included.

“Normally we’re able to raise funds to send eight to ten participants overseas,” said Amir. “But this year, thanks to a grant from the Department of Employment Services, we’re able to send fifteen.”

At the mention of South Africa, Kela breaks into a wide smile. She’s eager to explore the country’s traditions, culture and history. Her family and community are excited for her as well, raising funds for personal expenses and offering to come with her in her suitcase. 

“It’s helpful to learn about what’s outside your own neighborhood,” she said. “(The GK Summer Institute) opens your mind so you can make connections with other communities.” 

Tara Campbell is a DC-based writer of crossover science fiction. She would love to join the South Africa-bound party in Kela’s suitcase.