A few years ago, the leadership at Crossing Thresholds decided to make a commitment to bring younger voices to the table. For an organization dedicated to optimizing the potential of the world’s youth, we found that young adults were underrepresented and underutilized in our conversations and decision- making. The Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) was established to help Crossing Thresholds grow into a more well-rounded NGO. Our goal is to lead by example and show that young people are critical in leadership positions. This past January, for the first time, ELI was represented as trip leaders in Kenya.
As we embarked on yet another trip to Kenya, we were encouraged and excited to represent the ELI team as trip leaders and ambassadors. When we first came to Kenya as children, we were wide eyed and eager. Participating in service trips was an incredible privilege, but for many years we had no idea how to optimize our skills and talents in a cross-cultural context. It is not an easy undertaking. Nonetheless, it is our deepest conviction that inter-generational leadership teams are nonnegotiable IF we are to address the challenges facing young people around the world. We must inspire our peers to step up, get involved, and share the responsibility of building a better world.
On this last trip, our perspective grew larger and sharper. As young professionals, we became hyper -aware that we must set an example and encourage those around us to step out of their comfort zone. Only then can more young people follow in our footsteps and share their ideas. For the children of Kibera, it is important to see young people, both Kenyan and American, making a difference.
So here is what we have learned and what we want our fellow young professionals to take away from our experience:
Rebecca Via & Joseph Via
CT ELI Co-Chair and CT ELI Member