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Rising Minds’ mission is to bridge cultural, economic and developmental gaps through the integration of education, awareness, and action. We aim to inspire locally committed and globally active leaders through our empowering immersion experiences, proactive international partnerships, and personalized educational outreach.
Founded in October 2006, Rising Minds is a US-based, 501 © 3, small, grassroots non-profit organization that works to empower locally committed, globally active leaders through the integration of education, awareness, and action. Operating with integrity and transparency, Rising Minds strives to keep their overhead low in order to ensure that their budget is being used most effectively. Rising Minds accomplishes its mission through proactive international partnerships, personalized educational outreach, and empowering immersion experiences.
Through their educational events and presentations, programs and partnerships, as well as through their outreach efforts, Rising Minds is able to personalize complex global issues and inspire individuals to get involved in empowering work that is tailored to their specific capabilities, needs, and interests. Rising Minds’ international work always aims to inspire local U.S. involvement in global issues, bridging communities around the world and illuminating how our individual actions have an unmistakable impact on our global society.
After moving away from the United States, Rising Minds chose its second home in Guatemala due to it's historical involvement with the U.S. and the resulting complexity of community issues, as well as the presence of indigenous communities and the rising rate of tourists lacking access to this type of in-depth, customized, problem-solving and community work.
Following six years of successful international partnerships and sustainable community development in Jocotenango, Guatemala, Rising Minds moved its operations to Lake Atitlan, a beautiful crystal-blue lake surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, in the fall of 2010. With pockets of indigenous communities, Lake Atitlan has evolved into a widely-visited tourist destination void of the infrastructure necessary for engaging travelers in purposeful volunteer work.
Rising Minds fills an important niche for Lake Atitlan, as the small, largely volunteer-run, grassroots organization forms proactive partnerships with Lake Atitlan’s local communities by working with the communities’ schools, cultural centers, art co-operatives, and other various NGOs. Rising Minds works with the communities of Lake Atitlan employing on-the-ground developmental support to local initiatives, creating a greater incentive for locals and foreigners alike to part-take in sustainable business practices and dedicated community involvement.
In the past year, Rising Minds has started a home-stay program in San Juan in cooperation with Lema’, a Tzu’tujil woman’s weaving cooperative, allowing foreigners to live with Mayan families and engage in cultural exchanges; instituted 6 cultural immersion workshops that fund community projects while employing local artisans; created a customized English program for adults; implemented an empowering and personalized volunteer program alongside 7 community partner programs, addressing local needs and improving international relations; established a no-cost language-exchange program based on time-banking principles; founded a Spanish language course called Working Languages, providing world-class language instruction paired with opportunities for Guatemalan Spanish instructors to access fair wages and consistent work; provided a micro-loan to support a community-beneficial business; began Learning in Context, a program aimed at creating systematic change in Guatemala’s public schools by offering experiential and service-learning based projects in promotion of critical thinking, creative expression, and community involvement; and led a successful and meaningful Rising Minds Expeditions trip with 10 Macalester students, creating customized trips to Guatemala that interweave service, cultural immersion, and adventure.
In 2011, Rising Minds will continue to actively take on what no other organization in Lake Atitlan is doing. Their goal is to work toward gaining additional funding and expand Rising Minds’ volunteer base in order to establish themselves as Lake Atitlan’s hub for volunteer, cultural immersion and cultural exchange opportunities. These projects will include more extensive collaborations with universities in the U.S., with foreigners and locals in Guatemala, and with outreach efforts internationally.
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