Category Archives: Service

Internship for a World Traveler

Erika in Vietnam

Erika (left) on her service trip to Vietnam

Erika is accumulating a great resume. She participated in a service trip to Vietnam after her junior year of high school. She then won a prestigious scholarship to study with the U.S. State Department Strategic Language Initiative in Turkey the following summer. She attends St. Olaf College, a selective liberal arts college in Minnesota and she has had an internship at Morgan Stanley. This summer she adds another line to her resume with an internship at Kaehler Luggage, a purveyor of high quality luggage and travel products, headquartered in Winnetka.

Though impressive, this list of accomplishments and opportunities is not entirely uncommon for students from Winnetka and similar communities. Erika Jimenez however comes from a more disadvantaged community in Chicago where these opportunities are rare. But, if opportunities are provided, achievement need not be rare. Despite her family’s economic struggles, Erika has become part of the first generation of her family to attend college.

Some of Erika’s opportunities have been made possible through a partnership between Farther Foundation and Kaehler Luggage. Farther Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for deserving high school students from low-income families to participate in educational travel programs across the country and around the world. Participants in Farther Foundation programs have gone on to graduate from high school and college at rates far higher than their peers. Kaehler Luggage approached Farther Foundation with an idea for an internship that would allow students to work alongside experienced staff in a Kaehler Luggage store, learn about products and gear that makes travel safer and more convenient, and practice salesmanship, communication and other job performance skills.

Ben Kaehler, General Manager and Director of Operations at Kaehler Luggage, explained, “As a company we believe that travel provides an education that books cannot. We are thrilled to learn about, and partner with, the Farther Foundation who is giving these experiences to members of the Chicago community who otherwise would not have them. The experience and training that Erika and students like her will receive in our stores will be invaluable in preparing them for successful future employment.”

Erika has a career interest in retail management and is excited about her internship with Kaehler Luggage. She is a young woman who eagerly takes advantage of opportunities and learns her lessons well. Upon returning from her service program in Vietnam, Erika wrote, “Going abroad is the ultimate time to discover new things about yourself. I discovered that it takes lots of effort and I should not only be patient with others, but with myself as well. I realized that my purpose is to take the opportunities available to me and use it for the greater good to serve others. The experience helped me be a better leader because it taught me that I must push myself to become what I am truly capable of and to succeed.”

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

1 Comment

Filed under scholarships, Service, travel

Meeting the Masai and the Wildlife in Tanzania

Farther Foundation student scholars have traveled near, far and farther, challenging themselves to experience new people, places, ideas, languages and cultures. Program destinations have included top colleges and universities, rugged western wilderness areas and more than twenty countries including China, Thailand, Panama, Argentina, Spain, Ghana, Israel and Jordan.DSCN1164 DSCN1254 photo (3) alicia-tanzania

Of all our program destinations, none are any more foreign or challenging than Tanzania. Our scholarship recipient, Alicia, chose Tanzania precisely so she could immerse herself in something entirely new and challenging. In her application to us, Alicia said that she has not always been outgoing, but meeting new people and experiencing new experiences has more and more become a driving force in her life. She was also eager to participate in a program where she could provide community service. Alicia was referred to us by our great partner, HighSight, and her Tanzania program was led by Putney Student Travel.

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Follow our work more closely by subscribing to our blog or liking “Farther Foundation” on Facebook. Thank you for your support.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

Leave a comment

Filed under eduactional travel grants, Service, travel, Youth

Finding new relationships in the Dominican Republic

Tyler in the Dominican

Tyler (front) with friends in the Dominican Republic

Tyler was awarded a Farther Foundation scholarship and chose to participate in a Visions Service Adventures program in the Dominican Republic, where he would learn the local language and culture and provide service in the community.

Tyler describes himself as a shy individual, but throughout the course of his time in the Dominican, he came out of his shell, made several significant new friendships and found that he was often the bridge between members of his traveling group. But his fellow program participants were not the only new friends he found:

“The most surprising relationship created was between me and the Dominicans because I have very bad Spanish speaking and comprehension skills. That did not stop the Dominicans though; they continuously spoke to me and tried to create ways to communicate. In fact, a deaf mute girl, through constant attempts eventually got me to understand and I became friends with her. A young Dominican girl who really wanted to keep in contact with me does, and despite the language barrier, we still find a way to have conversations. I still converse with several people from the trip.”

Our students have very few experiences beyond the confines of their own neighborhoods, and so despite their inherent curiosity and eagerness to learn it is not surprising that they also have a lot of apprehension when arriving in a new and different environment. In the end, Tyler, like most of our scholarship recipients, had his risk taking rewarded with a greater confidence and sense of self that will help propel him to a brighter future.

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Follow our work more closely by subscribing to this blog or liking “Farther Foundation” on Facebook. Thank you for your support.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under eduactional travel grants, Service, travel

Language Immersion and Community Service in Costa Rica

Brittanie in the BandFarther Foundation awarded Brittanie a scholarship to go to Costa Rica this summer and participate in a language immersion and community service program offered by Rustic Pathways. Brittanie leaves tomorrow, and she sent us this note today:

I just want to thank you and all those involved in Farther Foundation. This trip would not be possible without your help and I’m so grateful. I leave on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to coming back a more informed and exposed citizen, ready to make a difference. On behalf of my whole family, we thank you very much.

P.s.: My photos are going to be awesome!”

When we select our scholarship recipients, we look for students that are striving and achieving despite challenging socio-economic circumstances. Brittanie is a great example. She excels at school and actively participates in programs at Evanston Scholars that are helping her to get the most out of her high school experience and prepare for higher education. What tipped the scales in her selection however was her enthusiasm and belief that a foreign travel experience could be a life changing experience. Here is what she told us in her application:

“I chose this program because I want to explore the world, explore the places I’ve only read about online, in real life. To have the real life experience would no doubt change me and the way I think about things. I believe that people who travel think about things more meaningfully. My mom always tells me that you can’t fully understand a person until you walk in their shoes. I cannot fully understand a people, a culture, or a language until I go to that specific place and immerse myself fully in the culture. Nelson Mandela said that “if you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart”.”

Have a great experience Brittanie, and we look forward to hearing from you when you return.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Farther Foundation and the students we serve depend on the tax deductible donations from people like you to make these life changing experiences possible. Visit our website to make a donation online.

Follow our work more closely by subscribing to this blog or liking “Farther Foundation” on Facebook. Thank you for your support.

Go Farther!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under eduactional travel grants, scholarships, Service, travel

Farther Foundation education travel grants help deserving students

Melissa This past summer, with the help of Farther Foundation, 16 eager and deserving Chicago High School students had the opportunity to travel across the country and around the world. While on their programs, these students had unique experiences that opened their eyes to a new world of possibilities and raised their expectations for what they could achieve in their education and in their lives.

One of these students was Melissa, a senior at Notre Dame High School who traveled to Ghana. Here is what Melissa had to say about her adventure:

                Traveling to Ghana in the summer of 2011 was definitely the best experience that I have ever had. To be honest, I did not know what to expect. When people describe any part of Africa, they only mention the poverty, never the beauty. Ghana has a beautiful rainforest and beautiful friendly people. My host family was very welcoming and I think they were the perfect family for me. Although, some of the most touching experiences occurred in the children’s home I volunteered at.

                A few days after arriving to Ghana, we finally arrived at the children’s home. This place had orphans, lost children, and children who were temporarily there because of family issues. There were so many different personalities. Everyday when I arrived, I would see smiles on their faces because they loved company. One of my favorite moments was when then kids took all of our cameras and took pictures like there was no tomorrow. Aside from keeping them company, we were able to re-paint the walls, buy new mattresses, fix some plumbing issues, build mosquito screens, and donate all sorts of toys.

                My family included a host mother, father, two aunts, one sister, and five brothers. I loved having plenty of family members. There was never a dull moment because there was always somebody to keep me company. They taught me so much about their culture. I learned how to eat foods without any eating utensils, how to speak “Twi,” how to greet people, how important school is in order to be successful, and how important family really is in our lives.

                As I returned back to the United States, I realized that I have indeed grown as a person. I am more understanding, grateful, and willing. My manners have also significantly improved. I was never a really big fan of saying please since I got whatever I wanted anyway. However, I now catch myself saying it more often. A life-long goal of mine is to continue to help those in need. My love for the country of Ghana is so strong that I plan to return within two years. To me, it is now like a second home. I am grateful that I got a scholarship from the Farther Foundation because without it, my trip to Ghana would have never happened. I am also thankful for the new friends, family, and memories that I now have.

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Go Farther!

Leave a comment

Filed under eduactional travel grants, Service, travel

Mid-year report now available online

AnSchool Girlsother 18 eager and deserving students have been awarded Farther Foundation enrichment scholarships to help them participate in unique and life changing educational travel programs this summer. Our scholars will travel to 12 countries on 5 continents and study at three U.S. universities.

Meanwhile, we keep getting exciting news from our alumni from past years who are just now deciding where they will go to college in the fall.

Our Mid-year Report is now available online for you to catch-up on all of our recent activity and to learn how you can help make more of these opportunities possible.

Go Farther!

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

Leave a comment

Filed under scholarships, Service, travel, Youth

Contests on the Web

VoteThere are a lot of contests on the web lately — many of them offering cash awards to charitable organizations that generate the most votes from their supporters. I just voted in two contests today, helping two of the organizations I support and respect. At Farther Foundation we are in the midst of an online contest as well – please cast your vote for us at www.oakparkapartments.com.

It is easy to look at all these contests as simply marketing ploys, using nonprofit organizations and their supporters’ good will as just another way to increase visits to a for-profit business’s website. Certainly there is an element of truth in that, it is the business of business to make money, but we should not dismiss the altruism at the root of these promotions. Somewhere in the organization, as part of its marketing plan, the decision was made to donate money to a cause rather than just enlarging an ad buy – that is good, and it likely sprung from some individual’s desire to do good.

It is perhaps easier to be cynical when it is a large corporation, like Chase Bank. It has tons of money, so its giving may not be a significant business expense. It likely has a huge marketing department and contracts with big firms to develop its marketing and advertizing plans, so who is that person driving its philanthropic spirit? I don’t know, but doing something charitable is better than doing nothing.

Our benefactor, should we get enough support to win our contest, is Oak Park Apartments. It is a hometown, family run business celebrating its 25th year in business. They are supporting home-grown and home-based charitable organizations. By the end of their 6 month charity contest, they will have awarded more than $12,000 to local charities. This isn’t Chase Bank money, but it is generous and I’m sure significant relative to the size of their business. I’ve met the owners of Oak Park Apartments in the little league dugouts and community organization tables around town and it is wonderful to live and work in a community with such a great philanthropic spirit.

Help Farther Foundation and the students we support be winners by voting for us at www.oakparkapartments.com.

Go Farther!

Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.

1 Comment

Filed under scholarships, Service, Youth

New Year’s Resolution

Dolores in ArgentinaAs we arrive at the turn of another year, Farther Foundation resolves to continue to provide opportunities for deserving students to have life changing experiences across the country and around the world. We would like to thank all of our supporters whose donations and encouragement make all that we do possible.

During 2010, sixteen students received Farther Foundation scholarships to participate in programs on six continents. They provided community service in Korea and Argentina, learned French and lived with a host family in France, tested their mettle against the rugged geography of New Zealand, dug for dinosaur fossils in South Dakota, immersed themselves in the art and cultural history of Uganda and much more.

We’ve already shared in previous blog posts some of what our students had to say about their experiences. Here is some of what we’ve heard from travel program providers, parents, and our 2009 alumni who have now gone off to college:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I am enjoying my college experience and I have survived my first semester as a freshman already. I am currently involved in fencing, Vista (spanish club), Tango club, and Eucharistic ministry for the church. I took English class, Biology 101, Calculus, and a Women’s and Gender Studies class.

– Nitza traveled to Argentina in the summer of 2009, she is now a Freshman at Williams College in Massechussettes

This was a new experience for us as well because this was the first time he left the house alone to a place he had never been to before. This was a positive experience because I have seen, since he returned, that he is more responsible in his decisions. This program gave us all an experience that helped us. I now have an idea of what it would be like if Ulises were to leave again.

– Benigna, mother of Ulises who traveled to New Zealand for six weeks this past summer

She was really one of our gems in the crowd.  Her motivation and can-do attitude were very infectious to our staff, and her name resonated throughout the program (all in positive ways).  I think that we’ll be able to offer another partial scholarship to the Farther Foundation if you’re able to find another great student like Nora!

– Jeremy Updike, Director of Summer Programs, Carleton College about Nora who participated in their Summer Science Institute

I felt that this program has changed my daughter in multiple ways. She came back with a better grasp of how college and being on your own would be like.  She has taken on a better knowledge of the outside world and her surroundings. This program really helped her figure out what type of school she would be interested in and why. It helped her come to the conclusion that she wants to go to a competitive, middle size school. This program was a must in my daughter’s life and Farther Foundation made it happen.

– Veronica, mother of Chelsea who participated in a summer pre-med program at Vanderbilt University in 2009 and is now a freshman at Colgate University

The University of Chicago is great! I’m really glad I decided to come here. We’re about halfway done with the first quarter and I’m enjoying all of my classes as well as campus life.

– Anna traveled to peru in 2009 and is now enjoying life as a student at University of Chicago

Thank you again to all our supporters. It is not too late to make a tax deductible contribution that will benefit your 2010 taxes and our 2011 scholarship budget. Visit our website to donate via credit card online or send us a check in the mail. If you would like to hear about our activities more often (about twice per month) visit the Farther Foundation Facebook page and “Like” us.

Happy New Year,

David Weindling

Founder and President, Farther Foundation

Leave a comment

Filed under scholarships, Service, travel

Farther Foundation Photo Contest Winners

Each year, Farther Foundation provides opportunities for economically disadvantaged high school students from the Chicago area to travel worldwide and interact with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. They participate in programs where they are immersed in new cultures and experiences, learn and develop skills, provide service, cultivate leadership potential and attain personal growth.

Upon their return, the students submit photos and essays describing their experiences. A panel from Farther Foundation selects its favorites and awards cash prizes to the students who submitted the top three in each category. During 2010, our scholars traveled to six different continents and returned with some wonderful photo images – some striking, some funny and some epitimizing the joy of discovering new places with new people.

Here are the top photos as selected by our panel:

1st place: Andrew, a senior at Chicago Hope High School, traveled to Uganda to provide community service and learn about the local culture. He shot this photo at a refugee restllement camp:

Andrew from Uganda

 

2nd place: Ulises, a senior at St. Ignatius High School, spent six weeks in New Zealand where he challenges himself with rigorous outdoor adventure activities and participated in local building projects and environmental education efforts. Here is a photo of Ulises in front of a New Zealand vista:

Ulises in New Zealand

 

3rd place: Dolores, a senior at Notre Dame High School, traveled to Argentina to live with a host family and learn the language and culture. Here she is with a group of Argentines and exchange students:

Dolores in Argentina

Farther Foundation is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization supported by tax deductible contributions from individuals who care about all students achieving their highest potential.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, scholarships, Service, travel, Youth

Opening eyes in Argentina

Dolores and JessicaDolores, a Chicago area high school senior, received a scholarship from Farther Foundation to travel with The Experiment in International Living (EIL) to Argentina this past summer where she provided volunteer service to the local community and had a moving experience. Farther Foundation provides opportunities for economically disadvantaged high school students from the Chicago area to travel worldwide and interact with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. They participate in programs where they are immersed in new cultures and experiences, learn and develop skills, provide service, cultivate leadership potential and attain personal growth.

Here is some of what Dolores wrote for us upon her return.

I spent the summer of 2010 working with The Experiment in International Living. I traveled to Argentina to learn Spanish, stay with a host family, learn the tango and do community service. We did a lot of fun things during this trip. We visited forest preserves, saw tango dancing in the streets, poverty, but also beauty. One of the most rewarding experiences was the community service. The projects included helping refurbish orphanages, playing with the orphans and helping special needs children. I enjoyed all of my service projects but there was one that I will never forget.

When we arrived at Centro Del Ciego we were only told to, “Walk in, play with the kids and leave,” I was excited; I couldn’t wait to play with the little kids! All the kids were escorted into the room to find their seats, and get ready for their bicentennial performance.

There was one little girl in the room that caught my eye. She had long curly hair, big brown eyes and a kind smile. A friend called out to her and said, “Jessica come look at my dress, it’s beautiful.” When she said this she took Jessica’s hand and ran it along the dress. It was then that I realized Jessica was blind. After touching the dress, Jessica responded by saying that her friend’s dress was beautiful. At that point my eyes began to water. I wondered how she can say something is beautiful without seeing it. It made me sad to think of all the things I love that she may never be able to see.

After the performance we were able to play with the children, I played with Jessica. I was able to get to know her and talk to her. She is a beautiful little girl with so much potential, but she lacks resources. She needs a walking stick and an abacus. The center cannot afford such aids for everyone.

Now that I have returned from the trip I feel that I have grown. Going on the trip to Argentina last summer was truly a unique experience. I never realized that poverty and lack of special needs assistance was nearly unattainable in foreign countries.

Since I’ve returned from Argentina I’ve realized I have become a better person. I help out more around my house and instead of just passing by people who need help I stop and assist them. I want to continue helping the less fortunate like I did when I was in Argentina. Since school has begun I have been elected Vice President and I will be using that role to my advantage. My goal is to start a fundraiser for the children at Centro Del Ciego in Posadas, Missiones Argentina. I would like to send them money, abacuses, and clothes. I want everyone to be touched by those children like I was. They are amazing, smart and beautiful–just like us. By working together we can help them be just as independent as we are. I know that I can make a difference in someone’s life; If not everyone’s then at least one, Jessica’s.

Dolores is one of 16 students who received Farther Foundation scholarships this year enabling them to participate in unique and life changing experiences across six continents. Inspired by experience students become active and engaged learners, full of potential and more fully aware of the world and its opportunities. Farther Foundation scholarships are supported by tax deductible individual donations.

Leave a comment

Filed under scholarships, Service, travel, Youth