GOOD 100: Meet Abby Falik, Reinventing College Prep
The concept of a gap year may have European origins, but the notions behind it have continued to gain traction the world over. Young adults are increasingly seeing the value of broadening their horizons before heading off to college, tossing an extra step or two between high school and higher education.
Enter Abby Falik, who believes that all high school graduates should at least have the opportunity to gain exposure to the developing world before entering college. Her proposed idea, Global Citizen Year, promotes just that, and won Harvard Business School’s “Pitch for Change” competition in 2008, which selects a stellar, socially valuable and sustainable idea, business, or product to toss resources at.
Five years later, Global Citizen Year is a thriving nonprofit with programs in Brazil, Senegal, and Ecuador. The program’s young Fellows complete a curriculum of service, cultural studies, and leadership training both at home and abroad, and return, hopefully, as well-rounded global citizens.
When Falik finished high school, her immediate hopes were for the Peace Corps, but was shooed away, and asked to “come back in four years.” Discouraged but certainly not defeated, Falik cobbled together a journey of her own design through Brazil and Nicaragua that served as the inspiration to help other young people do the same. After graduating from Stanford with both a Bachelor’s and an M.Ed, she spent five valuable years collecting experience in the nonprofit sector.
This year, Falik aims to expand Global Citizen Year’s core program and forge partnerships with even more colleges and companies across America, all in hopes of re-imagining higher education.
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