Jersey Dees is a second grader at R.C. Lipscomb Elementary school, and one of the winners of the Global Corners annual essay contest. She read her winning entry to an audience of about 100 at the Global Corner’s Explorers Luncheon Tuesday at the Pensacola Yacht Club. The luncheon is a fund raiser and a way to mark the end of the school year.
The Global Corner is a local non-profit group. "We provide kids a half day virtual adventure to a different country" said Lee Hansen, the founder and former Executive Director of the Global Corner. She traveled around the world growing up in a military family and during her 26 years in the Navy and found that many Americans didn’t have much knowledge or interest in the rest of the world. "I thought when I retired from the Navy that I would do something that would allow kids to get interested in what was going on in the rest of the world. And so I started this little organization, and 12 years later here we are."
The Global Corner is a local organization and spends the school year going into schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, teaching young students about a different country each year. "We teach them some of the basics (of another country) like where is that country in relation to ours, how would we get there, what does the geography look like in that country, and then we divide (the students) into 5 groups and take them through 5 individual activities where they get a lot of really cool information that seems to stick with them for a very long time."
Late last year, Hansen was appointed to the Escambia County School Board and stepped down as Executive Director. Taking over is Vanessa Mayes who says there’s a lot of preparation before the head into a school. "It's really an interdisciplinary approach, so we really try to hit subjects such as art and music...and language. So we really take a lot of time to sit...and study the country before we can put together the curriculum that we (use for our) two and a half hour program at schools."
The Global Corner will be entering its 12 school year in the fall. Board of Directors President Kelly Reeser says this year will be a turning point for the organization. "Not only (the transition) from our original founder to our new executive director, but we also have been named the recipient of idgroup's "Brand On Us" grant. That is going to really...give our organization a makeover. And we believe it will help us clarify (our) mission, vision (and) values in order to take us to the next level."
The idgroup of Pensacola gives one area non-profit a branding makeover each year, and the Global Corner was chosen this year. Reeser says they have put their full faith in ID Group’s process. "We have told ID Group that everything is up for grabs. And so we look forward to and trust the process. We believe they are bringing the key stakeholders, the right stakeholders to the table in order to inform the creative process." The results of that branding makeover will be seen in the fall.
In the meantime, The Global Corner will be concentrating on a new country: Canada. "So this year I'll be traveling to Canada" said Mayes, "I know that (former Executive Director Lee Hansen) would travel to the countries and bring back goodies and learn as much as she could about the country before she began writing the curriculum."
Both Mayes and Hansen say the group is always looking for new volunteers to help with fund raising and other activities. You can learn more about that at the global corner dot org.