Students preparing for future careers know that some kind of international experience gives them a leg up when they start looking for a job, no matter if that job is in industry, nonprofits, or government. Lehman College is helping these students by connecting them with opportunities to help them become true global citizens, but good programs require resources.
On Oct. 25, the Office of Community Engagement held its fifth annual Global Citizenship Gala to raise money for the Lehman L.I.F.E. (Leaders Involved for Everyone) Alternative Break Program, ensuring that Lehman students will have the chance to experience the world.
“Lehman L.I.F.E. is more than a program. It's a lifestyle, it's a mentality, it's a family, it's a perspective,” said Lehman student Gabriel Ogbennaya (’18), who participated in the summer 2017 service trip to Tanzania. “Once you go through it, your life changes. It makes you view things in a different light. You see more than just the big picture.”
Lehman L.I.F.E. supports service opportunities for students by creating awareness of need in communities around the world and fostering action through volunteer work with a goal of increasing awareness of issues affecting humanity from our campus to the global society. Students have traveled to Dominican Republic, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Cincinnati, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Kenya to perform community service efforts and aid other communities in their own sustainability.
Students hosted the gala as part of their effort to money to support their alternative break service immersion trips to Puerto Rico and Peru in 2019, raising money through ticket sales and donations at the event. The $21,000 raised will support 43 students on the two trips, covering at least 40 percent of their trip fees.
Students participating in the trips are required to raise funds for the total cost of their trip; to those students, the gala donations were about more than the money.
"When you contribute to Lehman L.I.F.E., your support is not just financial. It's shows you believe in us,” said Lehman student Bintou Kabba (’19).
The Gala honored three people who have positively impacted the local and global communities: Dr. Rima Brusi, writer-in-residence at the Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies at Lehman; Dr. William Jimenez, a Lehman alumnus who practices at the Westmed Medical Group; and Clarence Stanley, director of the Small Business Development Center at Lehman.
Students who are interested in becoming involved in the program can contact the Office of Community Engagement and New Students for more information. To donate to the Lehman L.I.F.E. program, please visit http://www.lehman.edu/lehmancampaign/ and select the Lehman L.I.F.E. Alternative Break Program from the drop-down menu on the giving page.