Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the United World College of the USA (UWC-USA) in Montezuma, New Mexico, where I met the three scholars attending UWC-USA thanks to the United World Challenge.This was a huge moment for me. Ever since I graduated from UWC of the Adriatic (the UWC in Italy) in 2006, I dreamed of paying forward my experience to new students. And how moving it was to see that dream come to fruition.
While having lunch with the scholars, one leaned over and told me, “I can feel my life changing, right now”.
Another added, “This wouldn’t have been possible… thank you.”
All three of our scholars expressed genuine gratitude for the opportunity our campaign has given them. Now one week later, I’m still touched by the sincerity these students showed. And I am forever grateful to you, the United World Challenge community, for supporting this mission to inspire a more courageous world in partnership with UWC.
Together we raised $76,775 for UWC scholarships, awarded to these 3 amazing students. They’ve overcome enormous obstacles – navigating social pressures to drop out of previous schools, taking initiative to care for their families, and working incredibly hard to achieve excellent grades (one of our scholars was even valedictorian of their school). And now, thanks to you, they’re at UWC-USA with full scholarships. As a bonus, a portion of our funds are supporting UWC of the Adriatic for their diversity scholarships, too.
All of our gifts are supporting students of color – a decision I made in June 2020 in solidarity with Black Lives Matter – to diversify the students at UWC, and as a result, expand opportunities for who leads our future.
My campus visit was brief, but we made sure I had time to speak to the student body. I shared the United World Challenge story and offered tips to help students build mental resilience and fulfill their dreams in UWC and beyond. Afterwards, a staff member emailed me saying, “Since your presentation, I have had a number of students asking me about who provides their scholarships and requesting to meet and thank them.”
This is something we can all be proud of: empowering and inspiring deserving students, and planting seeds for them to pass their gifts onto new students.
So, after 4 years of planning, building, and completing the United World Challenge mission, these 3 scholars are in one of the most amazing places – a United World College, where students from 100 countries come together to learn, grow, and create a better future together. Their story will continue for years to come.
And as for the United World Challenge? Well, our story is just getting started, too. In fact, there’s another bigger, badder, more ambitious United World Challenge mission around the corner…