Neighborhood families built global friendships this summer

Neighborhood families built global friendships this summer
Kelby Siddons, Lena Kehrer, Julia Winter, Alexis (Lexi) Maganano, Hannah Kolle, Genevieve Curley, Maxwell Lewis, Timo Hieden, Nicole Nimmrichter, Charlotte Nolan, Nathan Heekin, Stefan Klimisch, Jakhye Wilkins, and Nicholas Hoberstorfer

More than 25 youth from Avondale, Ortega, St. Nicholas and San Marco represented the USA at international CISV programs this summer.  A global, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring action for a more just and peaceful world, CISV helps its young participants develop as future leaders and active citizens so they can make a difference in their communities and the world. CISV, which was formerly known as Children’s International Summer Villages, also gives them the opportunity to build global friendships and networks that last a lifetime.

CISV’s flagship program is called “Village.”  It brings together 11-year-olds from around the world to live together for a month to learn to cohabitate cooperatively, share cultures and build global friendships. 

Tula Reisinger, a sixth grader from St. Nicholas, went to Village in Brazil. “Village was my favorite CISV experience so far. It was so much fun meeting everyone and making global friendships. I have become more aware of how big the world is,” she said.

Tula Reisinger, Bridget Lawrence, Lean Jimenez, Jack Sparks, Javek King at Brazil Village
Tula Reisinger, Bridget Lawrence, Lean Jimenez, Jack Sparks, Javek King at Brazil Village

Cyrus Vaghefi, a sixth grader from San Marco, visited Village at the very top of Norway and had a similar experience.  “My favorite CISV experience so far has been Village, because it has changed me.  CISV has changed me by becoming more mature and has made me pay more attention to things around the world,” he said.

Another CISV program, “Interchange,” allows Jacksonville families to host a child from another country for two weeks before their child goes to live for two weeks with the family of the child they hosted. This program allows children to have the chance to experience family life in another country and share their own community and home.  In 2019, 11 CISV Jacksonville families participated in an interchange with Netherlands for children ages 12 and 13, while six families with teens ages 14 and 15 interchanged with families from Graz, Austria. 

Avondale resident Ian Rasch, an eighth grader, participated in the Netherlands interchange.  “CISV has helped me try new things, make new friends, appreciate different cultures, and be really grateful for all I have!” he said. “My CISV experiences have made me excited to travel more with CISV programs. I also want to travel more with my family and, when I am older, travel all over, hopefully with friends I have made through CISV!” 

Luke Meyers of San Marco was a delegate to the Netherland’s Interchange. “CISV has made me a more open-minded person and made me think on how others feel,” he said.

Charlotte Nolan, an Avondale ninth grader, shared similar enthusiasm after participating in the Austria Interchange.  “My CSIV experience has definitely made me more confident in myself. I have friends in other parts of the world and understand other cultures better.”

For ages 14 and 15, CISV offers the Step Up program, a three-week international leadership camp.  This program encourages young people to take a leading role in planning and organizing activities. 

Conner McClure, Saanvi Kuravi, Bella McQuade, Tom Commander, Ryan Napoleon
Conner McClure, Saanvi Kuravi, Bella McQuade, Tom Commander, Ryan Napoleon

Bella McQuade from Ortega and Ryan Napoleon from Avondale attended Step Up camp in Florence, Italy. “I feel that because of CISV, I am less shy and CISV has also made me love learning new languages,” said McQuade. Napoleon agreed. “Step Up allows you to meet kids from different countries. I have friends all over the world that I made at each camp,” he said, noting CISV impacted his life by helping him learn about other cultures and see a different perspective. 

“CISV has made me a more kind and compassionate person. I also have made many lifelong friends around the world that I know will be there for me the rest of my days,” said Nico Summa, of Avondale, who attended camp in Germany.  

In July 2020, CISV Jacksonville will participate in an interchange with French teens ages 12 and 13 and Italian teens ages 14 and 15.  Other programs for 2020 will be announced at an event at Jacksonville University on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.  More information is available at https://jacksonville.cisvusa.org or by email to [email protected]

Ava Ondish, Nico Summa and friend at the German SU Open Day
Ava Ondish, Nico Summa and friend at the German SU Open Day
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

You must be logged in to post a comment Login