Ruby Cheresnowsky, from Salem, Massachusetts, shares how GYV taught her to believe in herself, trust others and be a force for good
My two weeks at the Global Youth Village is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. My whole life, before GYV, I have felt like I was different. There aren’t many people who look like me in my city. At GYV, for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged somewhere. I felt free to be myself. I learned so many things about myself. It taught me that there are other young people, like me, who care about making the world a better place.
The Human Rights and Arts workshop taught me a lot. Tony, who led the workshop created a safe environment where we felt comfortable to really share our deepest thoughts with one another. The workshop was really fun – especially our daily ice breakers! It also pushed us to open up about ourselves, our pasts, and hopes for the future. One activity that I really enjoyed was when we used one another, like human props, to “carve” images of what our life was like back home. We each gained such an understanding and respect for one another. I could just feel the energy of supported between everyone in the workshop. That activity really bonded us in a special way that I will never forget. I also learned how to step back and take time to listen to my intellect, slow things down, and be more positive in my world at home.
I made so many great friends and GYV, from the US and abroad. I made a special connection with Yu Zhe, who just moved to the US from China – we were inseparable! It’s surprising because we didn’t even speak the same language! She is such a beautiful person and I admire her guts to come to an unfamiliar environment. We couldn’t always communicate through words, and the Chinese I did learn was limited, but we could communicate through our facial expression and our body language. I remember this one time we listened to “Baby” by Justin Bieber and just sang our hearts out! We laughed our butts off for hours in the cabins. She was always there no matter what to put a smile on my face and give me a hug when I needed it.
Kofi, from Ghana, is another person I met at GYV, who I will never forget. We had an understanding of one another that is truly indescribable. We could talk about absolutely anything. We still talk every day on social media just to say “hi” and catch up. I really got a chance to understand and learn about his culture. (click here to learn about Kofi’s culture: Origami, Azonto, Carnivale and Goat Ropping: Cultural Sharing at GYV) Kofi has a gift for making me feel supported, and helping me feel secure in myself. I can’t thank him enough for that.