This week, we’re kicking off #MogulMonday! Each Monday, you’ll get the chance to learn more about the college students of our Moguls in Training program. Most of these students, who attend colleges across the country, have matriculated into the Moguls in Training program after being members of our high school Leadership Academies in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit and New York. However, New Look recently opened up its doors for the program up to allow new students to join after completing high school based on referrals from individuals and outside organizations. One such new addition to our Moguls in Training program is global leader, Mariel Duran, a student from the Dominican Republic who we met on our recent international Powered by Service trip when she hosted us on behalf of the AFS Intercultural Program. Mariel is a law student at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. During the New Look’s trip with Ford Motor Company Fund to the Dominican Republic, Mariel acted as our translator and assisted in the Powered by Service Training of 175 youth leaders. While the Powered by Service program has trained students in over 10 different countries, Mariel will be our first college student to enter the Moguls in Training program through an international touch point. Read about her first interaction with our program and becoming a New Look Powered by Service trainer in her own words below!
“Empowered. That’s how I felt that last day while saying Adios to the amazing group I spent a week with.
I didn’t have any expectations about this trip and never thought I would have ended up sharing so much about myself and my own country, Dominican Republic, in such a short period of time. Nor did I hope to connect so deeply with these adventurers from the USA.
When you’ve been living for too long in the same place and environment, you tend to forget the notion of what’s correct and incorrect, good and bad. You’ve been doing those things for such a long time that you just catalogue them as the accurate and normal thing to do. Visiting different community projects standing not too far away from where I live and study, like the one at Sierra Prieta, a community lacking many of the basic services, brought me back to the realities that suffer a big part of my country’s population. It flickered a desire to use my abilities to help others.
As a returnee of an AFS school exchange program in Italy 2014-2015, I’ve learned the importance of constructive dialogue between nations as one of the best tools to improve not only the interaction between one and another, but to help us put a mirror and reflect on our culture’s strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, I feel blessed I had the opportunity to be part of this journey, where we dived deeply into Dominican Republic and Haiti’s economy, politics and social issues; discussing the importance of building bridges as a need to improve our overall condition.
Working hand on hand to spark those 175 young students at the PBS Training filled me with so much joy and excitement. It helped me understand that we have a responsibility, and most of all the capacity, to tackle the issues we face as a country.
I want to thank Ford Motor Company and Usher’s New Look for this amazing experience, which made me reach a new level of interest regarding global issues and cooperation between countries. It’s by this type of activities that we can hope to build a more peaceful and just world, where the concerns of the majority are placed above those of the minority, diminishing inequality.”