The Class of 2012
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The Class of 2012

Grand Circle Foundation announces this year's Next Generation Leaders

Question: How do you know when an experiment is successful? Answer: When it becomes a tradition.

That is certainly true of Grand Circle Foundation's Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program, launched by Foundation Chair Harriet Lewis in 2007 as a way of preparing inner-city students for the future in a more impactful way than simply awarding scholarships. The NGL program targets college-bound seniors and consists of a seven-week paid summer internship focusing on skills development, leadership training sessions, and outdoor team-building events, followed by a nine-day excursion to Tanzania. During this trip, the students' newfound skills are put to the test in an environment half a world away.

A former educator herself, Harriet in no way dismisses the importance of scholastics. However in her words, "Academic excellence lays the foundation for success, but there are so many other experiences that I consider valuable, like community service, professional employment, and, of course, international travel."

To her, the entire world is a classroom, and incorporating travel into the program helps to "level the playing field" among their college peers for students who have faced challenges growing up in inner-city Boston neighborhoods. "When the Next Generation Leaders arrive at college, and others speak of studying abroad or traveling this summer, being able to say, 'I went to Africa,' may change how these students are perceived by others," she says.

It also has a profound impact on how these students perceive themselves.

In all, 24 students have participated to date, and NGL has been so successful, it has become an annual tradition at Grand Circle Corporation. Graduates of the program have even come back to the company as full-time associates.

Eight lucky—and deserving—students will comprise the NGL class of 2012. Each was recommended by a member of the Foundation's Community Advisory Group, a coalition of leaders of Boston-area nonprofits charged with measurably increasing the high school and college graduation rates of inner-city youth.

Students selected for this year's NGL program include: Amose Pierre of Codman Academy Charter Public School; Bria Gadsden of Roxbury Prep; Danielle Smith, Quang Le, and Yvesh'a Bellevue of Bottom Line, a nonprofit geared toward helping inner-city seniors earn college degrees; Iniko Jacobs of Summer Search, a mentoring, experiential, and college advisory service; Lily Lin of West End House Boys and Girls Club; and Roseanne Feng of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

We congratulate these exceptional students and look forward to welcoming them to Grand Circle.

Featured in our April 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.