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beth_outterson

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Review for Partners of the Americas, Inc., Washington, DC, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I first found out about Partners of the Americas when I was a recipient of the International Fellowship in Community Development, which Partners administered through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. This fellowship was offered each year for 5 years, and because of its success, extended another 5 years! Each year applicants were selected through a rigorous process – 20 fellows from the US and 20 from the rest of the hemisphere. This fellowship expanded my understanding of how leaders volunteering at the community level can learn and grow from each other across the hemisphere by sharing tools and experiences, and through their collaboration, effect real and lasting change. After that experience, I became involved in my local chapter in Washington DC and its partner chapter in Brasilia, Brazil. I eventually became the President of the DC Chapter, and gained valuable cross cultural and leadership skills. The Portuguese I learned in classes provided by the fellowship have served me well in my global health career during work trips to Brazil and Mozambique. During the years I was president of the DC chapter, we initiated a youth leadership exchange between low income high schools in DC and Brasilia. We called it the Ambassadors of Hope Youth Leadership Exchange Project. I had the honor of helping plan and leading five exchange trips. It was a labor of love. I am still in contact with young people I hosted in my home, took on congressional visits, and hosted a halloween party for them (their first ever!). Then later in the year we visited them, were hosted in their homes, visited their schools, and learned about their country’s history. It became personal. It is heartwarming to know that I still have standing invitations to be hosted in Brazil! More importantly, 10 years later, it is wonderful to see how these young people are maturing into leaders.
Fast forward to 2020 – I am now living in Oregon and active in the zoom calls between the Oregon chapter and its partner chapter in Costa Rica. I have joined the Partners Board of Directors this year and am proud to give back to an organization that has given me, and so others, so much depth to our human experience. Partners of the Americas breaks down barriers and saves lives through these people to people connections.

Role:  Board Member