Rhea participated in
The Global Philanthropy Summit Program gave me an entirely new perspective on philanthropy and contribution. When I went into this program, like most teens my age, I didn’t have a clear understanding of philanthropy. I learned that philanthropy is so much more than adults donating money; philanthropy is the contribution of time, ties, talent, and treasure by anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or background.
At GPS, we were able to meet with many different philanthropic organizations and foundations, and my eyes were opened on so many new levels on philanthropy. For example, we met with
, who empowers teens with giving them the opportunity to help out those in need. By sending videos to V!ng on who you think deserves $1,000 in your life, you have the chance of being selected and actually being able to give $1,000 to someone in need in your life. I worked with V!ng to create a video, and this gave me the chance to realize that regardless of my age, I can make a difference in someone’s life. This was a major lesson I learned from GPS, because like most, I used to think that someone had to be of a certain status to be able to philanthropize and make a difference. GPS, V!ng, and so many other speakers changed this common misconception.
Another big take away that I learned from GPS was that I can make a change in the world now, simply by volunteering my time and talent, using my ties, and giving my treasure to help a cause that I believe in. GPS was really able to expand my horizons and open my eyes to all the different kinds of philanthropic work that I can do. For example, we met with
who donate high quality bicycles to those in need in Africa. People like students, merchants, or doctors in Africa all benefit very highly from a single bicycle that helps them increase productivity, and give them a better life overall. After talking to them, I realized that a simple everyday object can make such a huge difference to someone in need. This got me thinking about how I can make simple, yet huge, changes in my community, or maybe even globally.
One piece of advice I would tell to future GPS participants is that they should maintain an open mind in order to better prepare them for the week. GPS took us to many different speakers, who worked in vast ranges of philanthropy. Maintaining an open mind allowed me to consider all options. I believe that future participants should enter GPS with a rough idea about what they want to take away or get from the whole experience, and maintaining an open mind about learning really offers a whole new perspective on philanthropy.
Overall, the Global Philanthropy Summit was able to alter my view on life completely, and I recommend it to any teen who wants to make a change in this world.