Traveler's Profile: Project Explorer
As you've noticed, I've started profiling different people in travel I like and support. While this has primarily consisted of other travel publications, this week I'm profiling one of my favorite organizations, ProjectExplorer.org. Since I've been fortunate enough to get involved with nonprofits and volunteer organizations since I started traveling, I'm always interested to come across organizations that are doing innovative things with travel, while making a difference in the world. ProjectExplorer.org is one such organization and I'm thrilled to highlight what they're doing today. I was first introduced to ProjectExplorer.org in New York City in September when they were launching a new product. They pull together three of my passions into one pretty package: video, travel, and doing good. I've always said that traveling to other cultures is where I've learned the most about the world around me. This is also the heartbeat of ProjectExplorer.org. Their mission statement reads: "To foster the next generation of global citizens by encouraging awareness of the world beyond a student’s own community through the creation, production, and distribution of engaging and free multimedia educational materials." They do this by creating engaging and interactive videos that inspire young student's wanderlust.
What I love about ProjectExplorer.org is that they go beyond the text books and classroom videos to bring the world alive. If you were like me in school, watching classroom videos were nothing more than a visual lullaby that accelerated an afternoon nap. ProjectExplorer.org's videos take viewers to the places themselves, making it less of a narrated story, and more of an interactive visual experience. This may include watching members of their team taste unique food, explore Mayan ruins, and learn how to make traditional crafts of a specific culture. In addition to videos, ProjectExplorer.org uses photos, educational blogs, and lesson plans to teach students about the world beyond their classrooms and communities. They provide all this free of charge.
When I first met Founder Jenny M. Buccos in September, I remember thinking that I wished there would've been something like this when I was going through school. I was lucky enough to grow up with a flight attendant sister, who sparked my wanderlust at an early age. However, many people don't know what exists beyond the communities around them. It's only appropriate that one of my favorite quotes comes from Stoic Philosopher Seneca, in which he states: “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” ProjectExplorer.org gives students access to the world they might not otherwise have access to, imparting that "new" vigor to the mind.
Starting in 2003, in just a few years, Jenny has grown ProjectExplorer.org into a multi-award winning non-profit organization. While there are other video series' in production, available educational videos include Mexico, Jordan, South Africa, and England. They are also re-releasing their South Africa series, and you are the first to see an excerpt, this from Table Mountain.
As I was talking to Jenny and learning more about ProjectExplorer.org, I was intrigued by their Good Global Citizen project. Good Global Citizen simply asks the question: What does being a good global citizen mean to you? ProjectExplorer.org is asking people to create and upload videos that answer this question. They've already gotten a great response from many world leaders and celebrities. Maybe you've heard of a few of them. Anthony Bourdain, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Ziggy Marley are just a few people who have taken part in the project.
So as I challenge myself, I challenge you too, to make a short video, answering the question: What does being a good global citizen mean to you? Then, all you have to do is upload your video to the Good Global Citizen Network to continue the on-going video dialogue with other citizens of the world. To whet your appetite, the following is a video from Anthony Bourdain.
I don't ask my readers for a whole lot. However, I do ask you to at least give ProjectExplorer.org a shot. While I've been wanting to write about them since September, this isn't a result of payment, a press release, a favor, free beers, or anything else. While I did enjoy free tasty quesadillas at their launch event in September, this is a result of getting behind something I believe in and I hope that others can come to find what a great organization ProjectExplorer.org is. If nothing else, at least check out their website and follow Jenny on Twitter. As I mentioned earlier, ProjectExplorer.org is a nonprofit and offer their multimedia series' for free. As such, they depend on contributions. You can find out more about how to donate by visiting the donation section of ProjectExplorer.org. Lastly, I want to thank Jenny for taking the time to answer all my questions and being so excited to be profiled on my website.
Photos courtesy ProjectExplorer.org.