The two years I spent volunteering with NGA (2007-2009) completely altered my perspective of the world the incredible capacity I have to impact it. On my first year of the program we had several educational workshops designed to help us explore our own lives and faith with the element of adventure and enjoying the environment around us. That year we spent months planning service programs in southeast Asia as well as raised all the money for the travel. The second year of the program I helped to coordinate programs in Africa. Within those two years, my life was transformed from the confidence I developed, the deeper relationships I created with my parents and family members, and the inspiration I experienced to go on to study international relations at American University and continue to work hard to bring about positive change, especially by empowering the most vulnerably people in society.
Wow definitely five stars for this one. I've been working with this non-profit for almost three years, and it has been a life changing experience! Literally my life has been changed. My relationship with my family, my friends, and especially myself has improved dramatically, and I've gained valuable leadership experience. The amount of love and dedication from this program is like no where else. They put on quality service projects overseas in countries of Africa and Asia, as well as antibullying projects in middle schools and high schools! I know there are other non-profits doing great things, but NextGen Academy is a non-profit that I can completely trust to transform and enhance people's lives.
Gave me the tools and experiences to make a better future
This is an amazing program that allows young people to take full responsibility of challenges and situations which are presented to them. As a recent volunteer of NextGen Academy, I have been places and done things that, in the past, I would not have done due to my own fears and hesitation. I have gained a considerable sense of confidence and courage through being on this program, as well as tools and education to help improve relationships in my life. Assignments and projects involve volunteers to make steps within themselves to take responsibility and apply it in real-world situations. It helped me to discover that I am free to live the life I dream of, and that is absolutely precious to me.
Review from Guidestar
The main reason I am writing a review is because I feel responsible to let any prospective NGA'ers families know my experience with my sister being on this program( she is currently on the program this year 2014- 2015). This year on NGA, youth and minors were out fundraising over night, sometimes several nights in a row. My family and I were surprised by this news-- we called NGA headquarters right away upon hearing it and a curfew of 11 PM was then instilled. Since then, we heard back from my sister that the curfew was broken several times.
We had hoped that it was an isolated event but we heard from another parent on NGA that the curfew for fundraising has changed by the founder to 2 AM on weekends. Since the change came about without our knowing, we began informing other parents, many of whom had no idea this was going on.
After speaking with a few past NGA parents, I have found that each year the curfew, along with young drivers has been issue that has been needed to be addressed. Here are the issues that I've learned only through regular phone calls to my sister, her captain, the director/founder, and past NGA parents:
1) Drivers/Captains are in their teens to early twenties and are driving vans all hours of the night. According to parents of NGA in the past, some vans were not up to safety standards i.e. did not have functional seat belts. NGA has given the captains the choice to make a call as to how late to drive the team, placing the kids in a difficult position to strive for a greater monetary result, and possibly disregarding risk factors – fatigue, late night bars scenes, drunken drivers, etc. This also places the team members in the awkward position of not being able to say “No” because of team peer pressure.
2.) Minors and youth this year and past years of NGA have been given "the choice" to fundraise in bars and on the street all night . This is not a choice to be given to minors (as young as 16 according to a past NGA participants).
Review from Guidestar
I was part of the first class of NextGen Academy back in 2006-07. That year as changed my life completely, and helped me lay the groundwork for an amazing life since then. My life is full of purpose and passion now, and I hate to think of what my life may have been without it. And the crazy thing is that the program has improved since my time there as a volunteer.
My experience with NGA was way beyond what I expected. I feel like the one thing that sets them apart is their level of commitment and heart in what they do. Through their workshops and programs I really gained an incredible sense of value and purpose in my life, and I don't believe I speak for myself either. Those who staff NGA have a wealth of experience and reliability. Although not perfect, just a small, relatively unknown organization with marginally sustainable finances, I have incredible faith in their mission, and that NGA will continue to grow and become the standard for excellence in the area of character education and experiential learning.