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I decided to sit back in one of the many chairs laid out in Santa Cruz´s (Galapagos Islands) City Hall, unwind for a second and observe all the people invited from Puerto Ayora to the graduation of our newest generation of Lonesome George & Co. Agents of Change.
11 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17, native to Santa Cruz, Galápagos and all dressed up for the occasion with huge smiles on their faces ushered our guests in, while explaining the stories from the pictures they had hung on the room´s walls revealing their experience at the Academy of Agents of Change.
A few minutes later, they presented our community with the social initiatives developed while participating in the academy´s 6 modules that combine Outward Bounds experiential education methodology and Ashoka Youth Venture´s approach to social entrepreneurship.
Each module represented a unique opportunity for our participants to experience their homeland in a stimulating new way: they camped out in the rim of one of the largest active calderas in the world, went out kayaking in pristine waters of Santa Cruz Island, interviewed key member of our community to understand our current social necessities, and based on information gathered from Puerto Ayora, they managed to create their social initiatives that will eventually generate a positive impact in our community.
By 7 pm and after observing each one of our Agents of Change present their initiatives to a captive audience of people from our community, I realized that these teenagers had become determined young adults aware of their importance as active members of Puerto Ayora.
Thanks to the Academy they were able to experience Lonesome George & Co. unique approach to social change: MIND your choices, SHIFT your thinking, IMPACT your world, and are now ready to venture out into our community armed with all the necessary tools to engage with our society and fully motivated to promote new ways of tackling our current social issues.
By Robert Balfour – Program Coordinator of the Academy, Lonesome George & Co.