Program ComponentsThe Pangaea Project experience includes three distinct programs:
- World CLASS
- International Inspiration
- Graduate Leadership
World CLASS (Connect Learn Act Serve Solve)
World CLASS includes over 90 hours of accredited training sessions during three months each spring. Students explore the concepts of leadership development, global studies, and social justice through project-based learning, classroom lessons, service-learning opportunities, field trips, and interactions with local changemakers.
In 2010, The Pangaea Project shifted to a school-based model, delivering World CLASS as a course at three alternative schools in the Portland area: Open Meadow, Mt. Scott Learning Center and Portland YouthBuilders. Approximately 45 young people participate in this semester-long component, for which they can receive dual credit at the high school and community college level.
- Strengthen the following leadership skills: teamwork, public speaking, effective communication and listening, the ability to make and keep commitments, concrete knowledge of local and global social justice issues; as well as the following leadership attributes: self-confidence, self -worth, self-efficacy;
- Learn about the underpinnings of social justice issues around the world by studying human rights, the costs and benefits of production and consumption, and their personal impact on people in other countries;
- Understand all aspects of changemaking by learning about traits of a leader, studying local, international and historical change-makers, meeting grassroots leaders working on issues locally, and exploring techniques for making change;
- Perform service projects locally to understand working in collaboration, effective team communication, conceiving of and completing a project, and organizing others; and
- Participate in team-building activities to help promote growth and learning as a unified group throughout the duration of the program.
International Inspiration includes an opportunity to travel abroad to Ecuador or Thailand for approximately one month. These impacting experiences are led by experienced International Team Leaders and an In-Country Coordinator, and are composed of two parts: a learning journey and a family homestay experience.
During the learning journey, students travel to different parts of the country as a group, meeting with indigenous and youth leaders and other changemakers addressing social justice issues. Students also visit places where changemaking activities have proven successful. During the homestay, participants live with carefully selected families and immerse into daily life, building lasting relationships with people of different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.
In preparation for their journey, participants meet daily for three weeks after the school year concludes. During this phase, students develop trusting relationships with their adult team leaders, unify through team-building activities, participate in language and cross-cultural training, and receive the practical and emotional support necessary to travel internationally. Families of participants also receive training and knowledge to answer questions, alleviate concerns, and gain tools for helping their children re-adjust and integrate their experience when they return home.
- Learn about the culture and country they will visit by interacting with the local Thai or Ecuadorian community in Portland, studying the language, receiving cultural sensitivity trainings, and exploring the history, environment, social and political situations in the country;
- Gain a deep understanding of complex global issues and the interrelationship between producers and consumers around the world;
- Understand how changemaking begins and is sustained by meeting and learning from grassroots leaders addressing social justice issues abroad;
- Learn how to work as effective leaders with people unlike themselves by interacting cross-culturally and by performing volunteer work alongside community members;
- Alter their perspective of poverty and the importance of material goods by living within inspiring, culturally rich, close-knit, fulfilled, mutually-supportive host communities who practice sustainable living;
- Continue to strengthen the desire to actively make a difference in the world by building empathy for others; and
- Gain a global perspective that allows examination of social and political issues through an expanded lens and critical thinking about ethnocentric tendencies in media and messaging that lasts a lifetime.
As one of The Pangaea Project’s newest innovations, the Graduate Leadership program resulted from elaborate discussions with educators, youth development advocates, and social workers about how best to expand our program offerings and provide the comprehensive support high-risk, low-income students need. The overarching intention of the Graduate Leadership program is to support students as they digest and reflect upon their growth during the classroom program and journey abroad, and to encourage them to retain and incorporate the lessons learned. By becoming active internally with The Pangaea Project and externally in the community, graduates will successfully integrate their experiences and transition more easily and confidently back into their personal, professional, and educational circles. All students who participate in the World CLASS and International Inspiration components are encouraged to become active members of our Graduate Leadership program, which runs throughout the year.
The Graduate Leadership Program is currently in its initial phase which hones participants' leadership skills and attributes by offering the following opportunities:
- A Speaker's Collective, participants can elect to be on-call as public presenters and speakers representing The Pangae Project for community outreach, fundraising and social justice networking;
- Service Learning and Networking, graduates are invited to participate in regularly scheduled service learning and social events that allow them to network, remain active in the larger Portland community and stay connected;
- Internships, through organizations like MercyCorps Northwest, SUN programs, Green Hammer, Carpe Diem, The World Affairs Council, The Pangaea Project Board of Directors, and Multnomah Youth Commission, participants are provided an opportunity to get hands-on work experience, travel abroad, and participate on boards.
Within the next year, we plan to expand the Graduate Leadership Program. In the expansion, graduates will receive more of the support needed to reflect on and assimilate lessons learned locally and internationally. They will be strongly encouraged to become changemakers in their own communities, engage in local leadership activities, self-initiate and drive social action projects, mentor incoming Pangaea Project students, and translate their domestic and international experiences into long-term educational and career goals.
Specifically, students will:
- Gain a deeper understanding of the power of their journeys by reflecting extensively as a group and individually on their international and re-entry experiences;
- Stand up as leaders by delivering formal presentations in schools, to community groups, businesses, Portland City Council and on KBOO radio;
- Sharpen their community organizing and leadership skills by addressing local social justice issues; and
- Formulate concrete transition plans related to their leadership, educational and career goals.