Find Your Own Story

To date over fifteen hundred trip participants have intentionally immersed themselves in the daily lives of Global Citizens Network’s community partners to support collaboration on development projects, as well as –see with fresh eyes, learn something new,  and simply be in solidarity with humankind.

(Building a multi-use sports court)

While the summer testimonies coming in from individual encounters already range from “the most meaningful experience of my life” to  “not just a volunteer trip  but two weeks that helped me discover myself”  one thing is universal and true across the board…..everyone has a story to tell.

My story is simple.  For two weeks last summer I lived with awe, humility and a sense of interconnectedness while leading a team of volunteers in Ecuador.  I was quickly reminded that our common humanity encompasses many of the same hopes, dreams, struggles and suffering that tie us to one another.  At the same time, if we truly listen, that humanity also challenges us to recognize and appreciate differences as we move together towards a more globally minded society.

Linda Stuart (center)

While the GCN’s team and the afro-Ecuadorian community of Tumabtu worked together to align our plans for the week, we were faced with many barriers, roadblocks and frustrations.   GCN’s commitment to the communities’ empowerment was renewed in our presence through constant dialogue and our team’s new way of thinking that put people first and enabled all voices to be heard.  We all had a chance to grow up a bit.    Now what I do next is just as important as I what I did while I was there.  I am mindful of my obligation and grateful for the camaraderie.

So, what’s your story?  Everyone has one and I invite you to share yours with the IVPA.   Will you return this summer renewed or are you looking for the sequel, a time to reconnect with good friends? ….2010 offers hundreds of different opportunities to immerse in other cultures around the world.

Interested in contacting a return trip participant for first-hand info about certain places?  Let us know.  We’d be happy to hear from you.

GCN trip to Tumbatu, Ecuador – Spaces still available August 12-22, 2010.

By Linda Stuart, GCN Director

For more information visist: or contact GCN Regional Coordinator for Latin America – Laura Kurland at

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