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“I want to get a letter out to the government about stopping the production of fossil fuels.”

This is one of Dave’s answers to the question, “What are the three most important issues in the news to you right now?” Dave is 17 years old and a senior at Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn. He joined Global Kids in his sophomore year, after a friend encouraged him to try it out. Prior to Global Kids, he says, “I would just sit at home after school, watch television and play video games.” Dave has since participated in GK’s Human Rights Activist Program (HRAP), Undesirable Elements, and Digital Xpressions. His involvement in Global Kids also led him to join the Brooklyn College Program at Paul Robeson and Youth Organizing to Save our Streets (YO S.O.S.), a youth development program in Brooklyn.

Dave arrived in the United States on April 13th, 2010 from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake. “We were preparing to come here for a while.” Now living in Brooklyn and with the help of his cousins and Mr. Britton, a teacher at school, Dave has learned English as his third language, with French and Haitian Creole as his primary languages.

Dave has developed a strong voice to advocate for social issues. When asked what issues concern him in the news, Dave replies, “Lack of jobs in the U.S., in New York…[a] lack of jobs creates a bad environment. And security. Like gangs with teenagers getting bullied and beaten up.”

Dave is congenial, helpful, and incredibly humble. Although his schedule is full of academic, extracurricular, and personal responsibilities, he is patient, welcoming, and never seems hurried by all his commitments.

“Be creative, speak your mind, and be vocal. Be updated on what’s going on locally and in foreign news, too. [Also], be direct. Know what you’re doing and don’t put your back to the audience; you can influence someone like that.” Dave is not shy to offer his opinion but is contemplative in his responses. These are the skills he believes youth in America need to be successful in life.

When asked about how Global Kids has changed his life, Dave responds, “[Global Kids] makes me involved in certain things – the environment and social issues; they’re giving me a path to be a successful person, and skills to become a leader if—no—when I do.”

It’s clear Dave is on a positive path and that Global Kids has helped guide and support his ambitions. He went to London in the winter of 2011 to participate in Model U.N. conferences, and participated in a summer institute at the Council on Foreign Relations last year. He was also selected from a pool of applicants to attend Rio+20 with four other Global Kids students in June 2012.

And where is Dave headed from here? For now he’s taking one day at a time while maintaining a realistic and perceptive outlook on life. “I want to attend college, to get as educated as possible and to find a job I really like. Right now I want to explore life and deal with what I have at this time. Things change. They change every day.”

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