Amigos de las Américas and the Houston Independent School District

Serving the Houston Community for a Combined 154 Years

Together, we are proud to increase access to service and leadership experiences for students across the Americas.

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HISD Abroad is a novel initiative to expand equality of access to study abroad opportunities. AMIGOS is proud to partner with HISD on this venture.

Our collaboration with HISD Abroad helps realize our vision to ensure young leaders from all socioeconomic backgrounds can participate in our programs.

We are committed to providing significant financial assistance to empower HISD Abroad students to embark on life-changing service and leadership experiences, both through participation in our volunteer abroad programs as well as by joining our local initiatives.

Want to get involved?

Classroom Community Impact Project 1.0

Starting spring 2021, AMIGOS and North Houston Early College High School are bringing the Community Impact Project to the classroom. Students taking the Principles of Government and Public Administration course will connect with peers from around the world to design positive service projects and support their communities. In doing so, they will create projects that address critical issues and build a network of like-minded individuals committed to lifelong civic engagement.

This innovative partnership leverages the expertise of two long-standing and well-respected Houston institutions, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and Amigos de las Américas (AMIGOS). Together, we can work towards the shared visions that:

"Every child shall have equitable opportunities and equal access to an effective and personalized education in a nurturing and safe environment. Our students will graduate as critical thinkers and problem solvers; they will know and understand how to be successful in a global society." [HISD]

"All people are lifelong leaders sharing responsibility for our global community." [AMIGOS]

Want to learn more? Join us for a webinar for more information!

HISD Global Graduates

AMIGOS and HISD propose a new partnership to offer co-curricular learning programs to support HISD’s effort to ensure that all students are able to become Global Graduates. HISD Global Graduates exhibit the following characteristics:

Leadership

Leadership

Works collectively and leads by example. Embraces new ideas and technologies and motivates other to be open to change.

Communication

Communication

Reads, writes, speaks, and listens effectively—adapts to diverse audiences and settings.

Responsible Decisionmaking

Responsible Decisionmaking

Sets goals, develops action plans, and works hard. When faced with challenges and obstacles, is able to persist to achieve goals.

Adaptable and Productive

Adaptable and Productive

Industrious member of a global society. Demonstrates flexibility and cross-cultural skills when fulfilling personal, professional, and community experiences.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Identifies and dissects issues, seeks multiple opinions, and critically evaluates various solutions. Understands when additional information is needed and effectively uses technology (21st century literacies) to research.

College-Readiness

College-Readiness

Proficient in the core disciplines, as evidenced by successful performance on state and national assessments. Works hard and persists to achieve academic and career goals.

It has never been more important to equip young people to navigate an increasingly global and multicultural world. Skills learned through cross-cultural connection, one-on-one mentorship, and collaboration with peers serve students as they embark on their careers. Cultivating a global mindset opens the world to the next generation.

Houston, Texas is representative of the increasingly glocal (reflecting both global and local considerations) nature of our society. One of the most diverse cities in the country, nearly half of Houston residents speak a language other than English. Texas is a top global destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), with 32 foreign trade zones and more than 1,500 foreign corporations with ongoing operations in the state. And industry in the city is heavily influenced by global interests and companies, particularly from Latin America. Students who graduate high school prepared to thrive in multicultural contexts are well-positioned to excel in a global workforce.

What is the Classroom Community Impact Project?

In 2020, AMIGOS launched our first-ever online program, the Community Impact Project. The objective was to provide opportunities for teens to connect with other globally-minded students around the Americas while addressing needs in their own community. They learned to design and implement ethical, meaningful service projects shaped through cross-cultural collaboration.

The Classroom Community Impact Project will take place during class time and is free to all participants. Students will meet and collaborate with teens from another country and have 1:1 meetings with mentors. They will develop leadership skills like cross-cultural competence and design thinking while exploring issues they’re passionate about.

In 2020, 133 students joined the Community Impact Project and 97% reported a high level of satisfaction with the experience.

Program Pillars

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Connection

Students meet peers from around the world who want to be young leaders for themselves, their communities, and the world. While borders may be closed, students can still meet other students committed to serving their communities during this pandemic. Built on AMIGOS values of intercultural awareness and inclusivity, diverse cohorts allow space for creative solutions, critical thinking, and language practice.

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Intercultural Exchange and Collaboration

The Community Impact Project consists of self-guided activities, one-on-one discussions with a staff mentor, small group projects, and live group discussions. Students practice intercultural communication and learn project management frameworks as they prepare to design community service initiatives for their community.

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Service

Students learn pathways for positive impact in their communities while earning service hours. Each student designs their own service project shaped specifically for their community’s needs. Students learn what makes service ethical and sustainable, and apply these concepts to the project they create.

Outcomes of the Classroom Community Impact Project

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Preparing Young People for an Increasingly Interconnected World

  • Build cultural competence by learning about cultural humility and collaborating with teens across the world
  • Explore what it means to be a global citizen
  • Use technology to make real connections and develop communication skills
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Building Global Competence for an International Job Market

  • Identify leadership strengths and explore critical issues that affect local and global communities
  • Develop the strengths of a knowmad, a term coined by John Moravec, PhD: “a nomadic knowledge worker, […] a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, anywhere.”
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Learning to Become Leaders at Home and Abroad

  • Examine volunteering and civic engagement through the framework of ethical service
  • Learn about your own community
  • Explore the process of design thinking to create a service project and practice pitching your ideas to diverse audiences

About HISD

The Houston Independent School District, with more than 210,061 students and encompassing 333 square miles within greater Houston, is the seventh-largest public-school system in the nation and the largest in Texas. Six area superintendents oversee HISD elementary, middle, high, and alternative/charter schools (respectively), 280 campuses in total.

About North Houston Early College High School

The inaugural Classroom Community Impact Project will take place at North Houston Early College High School (NHECHS). NHECHS is a public school in Houston ISD. As an early college high school, NHECS partners with Houston Community College to provide students the opportunity to complete high school graduation requirements and earn an associate degree or at least 60 semester credit hours towards a baccalaureate degree during grades 9–12. Given that 86% of our student body is economically disadvantaged, this dual credit program makes a college degree much more affordable for the community the school serves. According to US News and World Report, NHECHS is in the Top 50 Best Schools in Texas, and have a 100% high school graduation rate. The small campus atmosphere helps foster strong relationships between students and faculty.

The Community Impact Project is a wonderful opportunity for NHECHS students to explore ways to bring about meaningful change in their community. They look forward to partnering with AMIGOS to help NHECHS students realize their ability to shape and improve the world around them.

About AMIGOS

AMIGOS is a youth leadership and community development nonprofit. Founded in 1965 to address a polio epidemic in Honduras, AMIGOS is a leader in youth leadership and volunteer service programming. During the past 56 years, nearly 30,000 students have participated with AMIGOS in 17 countries throughout the Americas.

Across the world, young people play a tremendous role in bringing about community change. AMIGOS has recognized and fueled this energy for 56 years. Our programs challenge students to realize their full potential through transformational experiences in leadership, service, and cultural exchange.

Fill out the form below if you're interested in implementing this program in your school or if you would like to get involved as a mentor.

Contact HISD Abroad

[email protected]

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