May 10, 2021

Reflection on the Resilience of GK Youth Leaders

Female Leaders in Social Movements
Female Leaders in Social Movements

It has been a year of unprecedented experience for our youth, staff, families and community at Global Kids.The COVID-19 pandemic in conjunction with increased violence against our BIPOC communities and economic and racial disparitieshas shaped more than a year of our lives, canceling plans, causing feelings of grief, stress and anxiety and shaping the way we look at our our access to good healthcare, wellness supports and educational services. However, one thing has remained constant Global Kids has continued to show up, provide essential resources and services to our youth and families and even look internally, developing a bi-weekly Antiracists Pedagogy Training series focused on developing a shared understanding.

College and Career

With support from our highly qualified staff, our youth have been able to meet these challenges head on. Our seniors will be graduating from high school and are being admitted to their colleges of choice, including Penn State, Cornell, and various CUNYs. One was selected as the 2021 POSSE scholar and will be heading to Lafayette in the fall. We are so proud of these achievements and grateful for the support of all those who have donated their time, energy, and expertise towards developing our GK Leaders' college and career readiness skills this past year.

Annual Youth Conference

Our youth also designed and implemented their second successful virtual Annual Youth Conference on April 1 with “Government, Economic Equality, and Human Rights” as the conference theme. The conference brought hundreds of young people together who facilitated workshops on topics such as poverty criminalization, child labor, immigration, and other government-related human rights violations.The day featured many creative performances and special guests including keynote speaker, Zama Neff the executive director of the children's rights division of Human Rights Watch.


Round Tables

Global Kids’ partnerships with the Council on Foreign Relations, the world’s leading international affairs think tank, has given our young people unique access to some of the world’s leading foreign policy experts. The CFR Round tables provide GK Leaders with an opportunity to learn from experts on various foreign policy topics. Each includes a presentation and a lengthy Q&A session, which affords students a window into the world of policy deliberation and analysis and empowers them to have confidence in their ability to voice their opinions. GK students attended round tables with experts in their fields such as: 


  • Meighan Stone who spoke with students on the topic ofwomen and girl leaders in social movements (she has worked with Malala Yousafzai), with a tie into cross-cultural learning in organizing movements; 
  • Charlie Kupchanwho led a conversation focused on U.S. isolationism and what to expect for U.S. involvement globally under the Biden administration; 
  • Paul Angelo,CFR fellow for Latin American Studies, whofocused on the current political protests in Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Guatemala; and 
  • Rob Knakewho discussed the November Presidential election, specifically focusing on the importance of cybersecurity.

Social and Emotional Supports

Supporting students’ social and emotional (SEL) needs continues to be critical. Restorative Circlesguidedstudents on how to use and apply SEL techniques as they navigate their world at this time. It included workshops on Healthy Relationships, Basic Needs, Zero Tolerance, Conflicts, and Expressing Affection. Guest speakers from Safe spoke aboutHealthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships and Breaking Down Racism. In Peacekeepers, students continue to gain conflict resolution skills and address bullying and other forms of discrimination. Workshops focused on self-awareness, morals and ethics, social movements, affinity groups, resolutions, local and global movements, and a virtual visit from the Animal Care Centers of NY. Finally, we continued to offer choice-based enrichment clubs inSpanish, Anime, Minecraft, Yoga, Evening Yoga, Photography, Cooking, Writing, Dance, Global Art, Funny Girls (improv), Bro Code, and Market Makers(financial literacy).

GK Annual Youth Conference
GK Annual Youth Conference


Jan 8, 2021

Fall into Winter GK Youth Update

GK Middle School
GK Middle School

Due to the uncertainty around schools reopening, and programming protocols, all Global Kids programs were off to a staggered start this year. This prompted a later start to the enrollment period, changes in enrollment processes for some of our contracts and multiple changes in the start to the school year – all of which are related to the COVID pandemic. While most of our programs are operating remotely, some of our staff are supporting students in person at the school sites. 

Along with our outreach to students and our school partners, Global Kids was able to run some bridge programs to introduce and welcome students back to Global Kids, kicked off several programs including Power of Citizenry, College and Career Readiness, HRAP, clubs and others. We also resumed our Council on Foriegn Relations (CFR) roundtables virtually in October of 2020 with CFRfellowRob Knakewho spoke about the elections and cybersecurity. To continue supporting staff’s ongoing learning, we launched our new staff professional development series this fall which focused on our anti-racist work. 

Lastly, Global Kids was extremely proud and humbled to be named by Nonprofit New York as the Overall Management Excellence Winner for its 2020 Nonprofit Excellence Awards! This win is an incredible honor for all of us at Global Kids, and indicative of the commitment and passion that all of our staff brings to fulfilling GK's mission of educating, activating and inspiring students to become civically engaged participants in our democracy.

As Overall Winner, in addition to being awarded $30,000 to continue our programming, GK leadership was also asked to take part in two panels at the 2020 Nonprofit Excellence Awards. Global Kids Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos participated in the "From Crisis To Recovery: The Current State of the Sector" panel. Panelists spoke on how nonprofits have been handling the pandemic and supporting their staff and communities through these difficult times. You can watch the panel here. In "More Than a Protest Slogan: Making Anti-Racism Real in Your Organization," GK Director of Programs Yvonne Brathwaite spoke about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices. You can watch the panel here.
Global Kids and Art and Design High School Youth Celebrate Suffragettes of Color With Portraits Across NYC.
From October 15th to November 3rd, 2020, Global Kids, in partnership with LinkNYC and the High School of Art and Design, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote with portraits of Suffragettes of Color displayed in Link kiosks across New York City.
Global Kids youth leaders at the High School of Art and Design conducted research and then selected ten prominent women of color who made a significant impact in their fight for equality and Woman’s Suffrage. The artwork for this campaign was created as part of Global Kids’ Girl Hack digital education program.
See the full project and learn more about the suffragettes featured in it here.
College and Career Readiness 
This fall our College and Career Readiness Program has primarily focused on seniors as they are in the midst of applying for colleges at a time when there is less support provided by their schools. Students attend specialized college-centered workshops to stay on track with the college application process. The program opened with a Senior Kick Off party where students were able to process their emotions around the college process, learn key terms and concepts, and review a timeline for the coming months. They also attended workshops on creating the college list, completing the Common app and the CUNY app, as well as writing college essaysStudents are also encouraged to connect with trainers for individual supportWalso offered larger events including: a Virtual College Fair with speakers from Macaulay Honors College, St. Francis and HBCU Hub; a College Application Party; Macaulay Honors College Info Session for Juniors and Seniors, and a special presentation from Judy Young of College Excellence
Power of Citizenry Leadership program
Global Kids Youth leaders began by exploring the theme “Who’s Got the Power”. They learned about different forms of governments around the world, examined how political beliefs are formed, learned about the U.S. election process through an interactive online simulation, and discussed their own opinions on different political issues. Students processed their feelings and thoughts about the current election including how it was different from years past due to COVID 19. Students learned about how we can build power at the local level, highlighting the importance of making phone calls to local elected officials. Every week students were encouraged to take action in Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts by encouraging their friends, family and community members to know their voting plan and to vote. 

Human Rights Activist Project (HRAP) 

The youth leaders focused on cohort building and helping students understand the basics: who, what, where, why and how of community organizing. Students learned how to differentiate between organizing, activism, and social movements and gained tools for organizing in their communities. They analyzed issues that affect their communities and ways to build successful campaigns around these issues. The program hosted a panel featuring community organizers representing healthcare, immigration, climate change, education, criminal justice, and housing and racial justice. During the panel, students asked questions and learned about the issues and tactics to prepare for their own campaigns for social change. 

GK Middle School
GK Middle School
GK Youth Leaders Art
GK Youth Leaders Art
GK Youth Leaders Art
GK Youth Leaders Art
GK Youth Leaders Welcome Back
GK Youth Leaders Welcome Back
GK Youth Leaders Welcome Back
GK Youth Leaders Welcome Back
Sep 11, 2020

Global Kids Summer Reflection

GK Summer Institute
GK Summer Institute

Due to our PPP loan and in spite of DYCD’s cancellation of most summer programs, we were able to keep on all of our staff and offer robust summer programs. We used this opportunity without the constraints of DYCD contract requirements for staff to think broadly and outside of the box to recruit youth and offer creative, fun and interactive spaces. Activities included:

  • Interactive group workshops
  • Virtual field trips and guest speakers
  • Summer stipends and summer employment
  • Mentoring
  • Summer school support
  • Grocery deliveries
  • College and Career Readiness

Additionally, due to the nature of remote programming, our program staff were able to collaborate across sites and really support each other to implement high quality programs. This report summarizes our summer program activities. 


We provided several programs described below to nearly 400 high school students this summer through various internship and summer bridge programs. 

Change Makers Leadership Internship: With the presidential elections coming up in November, and the various primary elections occurring throughout this year, students learned about the history of this country's voting rights and voter suppression. Guest speakers included organizers from YVote who gave a presentation about the history of voter suppression and the work they do with voting empowerment throughout various communities.

HRAP Youth Organizing Internship: Students explored issues of racial inequality, particularly related to education, immigration, xenophobia and LGBTQ rights. Students learned about a wide range of local and global social movements such as the pro-Democracy Movement in Hong Kong, BLM, the movement for climate justice by Indigenous communities in Canada and the USA, the feminist movement in Latin America and more. Students also heard from a panel of activists and community organizers with speakers from Sunrise Movement, Integrate NYC and NWBCCC. Students concluded the program by designing a campaign in groups based on the issues that they were most passionate about.

Media Movement Internship: Students explored the role of media in powering, shaping and promoting social movements. In particular students focused on the Black Live Matter movement and the concept of Afrofuturism. For their post-program projects, students will use different mediums such as arts, writing, and podcasts to speak up on the issue of racial inequality, particularly in schools. 

College and Career Summer Internship: We ran two separate groups - for juniors and seniors - helping them to prepare for life after high school. Students learned about reach, match and safety schools, and began researching their own college lists. They also started or updated their personal statements, resume and cover letter, and conducted scholarship/financial aid research in order to start building their college application portfolios. Special events included a virtual campus tour with the University of Houston, an alumni panel, and a meet and greet with the CUNY Welcome Center, SUNY Oswego, and college counselor Judy Young. 

Summer Bridge Programs: We ran a week-long summer bridge program for 20 rising 9th graders from our various citywide partner schools. Students participated in games and activities that helped them recognize and process their emotions about starting high school and the unique challenges of starting high school under COVID. Students shared what excites them about starting high school, as well as their anxieties and concerns. We helped students set goals and identify strategies to cope with and prepare for high school. We also ran a half-day bridge program for nearly 300 Art and Design HS incoming 9th graders focused on social and emotional development and community building, transitioning to high school and managing cyberbullying. All of our program staff implemented this event that included 14 Zoom breakout rooms led by teams of 3-4 GK program staff.


Our Community School and Learn & Earn Programs collectively served 2,629 students this summer. Bronxdale HS had several subcommittees to transition into the hybrid school year that the GK team supported with data and individual anecdotes to support students and families. Due to remote programming, the GK staff from Bronxdale was able to provide the most vulnerable students with 1-1 support while other Bronxdale students joined our high school summer internship programs. Two student highlights include a rising GK junior serving as a panelist for GK's racial equality town hall and a rising GK senior speaking at the rally to #SaveCommunitySchools. 

GK staff from Careers in Sports HS focused mainly on providing summer school support. The staff outreached to students and parents through phone calls, emails and text messages and provided them with individualized support or connected them with resources as needed. We also met the needs of some of our most vulnerable families by providing Fresh Direct grocery delivery as well as Target gift cards for student supplies.

P.S. 96 staff were quite busy supporting the school as well as other GK programs. P.S. 96 staff helped run the GK HS internship programs, Bryant HS programs and SYEP at BSSWA. Staff also managed the District 4 summer school attendance by collecting, uploading, evaluating, and interfacing with families, parent coordinators, and principals. Based on need and interest, the team created two weekly sessions offered to rising 3rd-5th graders and rising 6th-8th graders. 3rd-5th explored different countries and 6th-8th created a game, whose goal was to "get through 2020". We also worked with the school to conduct needs surveys, family outreach, town halls, and smoothly transition every student to their iLearn/myschools accounts.

Unlike our other DYCD funded programs, our Transit Tech High School Learn & Earn (WIOA) program was able to continue running this summer. We successfully maintained our partnership with the DOT, MTA, to provide employment for our youth through our Summer Internship Program (SIP). We had 26 GK Leaders participate in these work readiness opportunities and their on-site supervisors reported that student work performance was far above standard. Students also participated in a two-part financial literacy series with Sterling Bank and a few youth participated in our US in the World Program.

Bryant HS offered Leadership, HRAP and College and Career Internship Programs with stipends for 66 students: Leadership empowered incoming 9th and 10th graders with personal, interpersonal, and social skills with a focus on being proactive leaders in their communities. Students heard from speakers from People's Power Assemblies, The People's Puppets, Occupy the Pipeline, the Sane Energy Project and an Occupy Wall St independent photographer activist who co-authored the Declaration of Occupation of New York City. In HRAP, youth learned about climate justice and created an action project by the end of the program. They met a youth activist from Kenya, an expert who spoke on the importance of bees, and Phara Souffrant Forrest, the newest 57th district member. College and Career Readiness focused on the Common Application/CUNY Application, essays, financial aid, and scholarships. Youth created their college lists, brag sheets, and a first draft of the personal statement. All students had a mentor to support them in their college process. In addition to the internship programs, in collaboration with the school, our team supported 30 success mentees in summer school by providing guidance/counseling, regular check-ins, tutoring referrals and translation for ELL students. Staff called all incoming 9th graders to complete documentation.

Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists (BSSWA) supported over 100 families with COVID immediate-need assistance including food deliveries from Baldor Foods. Staff made phone calls to the incoming 9th graders to support their transition to the school and supported 10 POSSE scholarship nominees. With partial funding reinstated, we ran our Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) program remotely with 65 students over five weeks (July 27, 2020 - August 28, 2020). Students engaged in career readiness activities through project-based learning. We collaborated with five workplace challenge partners from different industries and sectors, including finance, media, and business allowing students to engage with these partners to discover solutions for workplace challenges, such as establishing equity and providing access to economic opportunities for employees. The SYEP program culminated with presentations made by the students on various topics including police brutality, equity, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

John Adams HS supported summer school students with progress monitoring, helping them manage and prioritize work, assessing socio-emotional needs and weekly check ins with parents. Our GK social worker supported the SEL team by providing weekly counseling for tier 1 and 2 referrals.

We also ran several summer workshops and activities: You've Got Rights focused on reimagining the constitution and global citizenship; Bridge to College supported rising seniors; Anime Design; and An Abolitionist Perspective on Mass Incarceration where students created a beautiful collage and corresponding written piece. 


This year we offered a robust middle school camp for 85 youth that combined all of our middle school program sites as well as middle school students from other schools. The program ran five days per week in the afternoon as well as some evenings. Activities included language classes, global arts, digital games, Minecraft, cooking, dance, yoga, photography, evening story time, digital art and more, providing students the opportunity to attend multiple activities of their choice. Summer camp also included whole group community building activities like Hot Seat where students learned more about GK staff and their peers, and weekly virtual field trips. Remote programming allowed us to take virtual trips to: Great Wall of China, Hawaiian Volcanoes, The Surface of Mars, The Museum of Science, Louisiana Swamp Tour, The Great Pyramids of Egypt, The Science & Space Museum, and Yellowstone National Park. Our program culminated with a final student presentation titled “Beyond our Possibilities” which was streamed on Facebook Live. The event showcased the culmination of student projects and learning throughout the summer, and provided the audience with fun cultural facts about societies around the world. Some of the accomplishments highlighted at the event were: a tour of the virtual GK village students created in Minecraft using the UN's Sustainable Development Goals; a demonstration of their new language skills and displays of student artwork, photography, poems, writing samples, song and dance.


We’re excited that we were still able to run an intensive remote version of our U.S. in the World Summer Institute in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Relations. 18 students participated 5 days per week for 3-5 hours per day, engaging in workshops on international relations, climate change, women in leadership, the military industrial complex, reimagining education, AI, the COVID pandemic and related issues and many more. During the session on economic reform, students discussed some different philosophies for reform (doughnut economics, feminist economics, and well-being economics) and students used Canva to illustrate the guiding ideals they think we should have for economic reform as a society as we look to build back up our economy in a better and stronger way. Youth also heard from various guest speakers including Richard Haass, George Stephanopoulos, Alice Hill, Ben Steil, Rachel Vogelstein, Zama Neff and others.

We held our second virtual town hall event: The Fight for Racial Equality Youth Panel which highlighted perspectives from three of our youth from New York City, Washington, D.C. and Houston, TX. GK Leaders shared their experiences processing the many national racial incidents including the killing of George Floyd and what actions they think policy makers should take towards racial equality. We are very proud of all of them!


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