“My ultimate goal for giving back to the world is to help youth in impoverished communities. By educating these communities, nothing but positive change will come back.”
Name: Brenden Picard
Hometown: Putnam, CT
Education: Putnam High School
Passions and Interests: Began a travel club at school (Travel – Serve – Learn) and is an active member in his school’s student council.
Transformational Experience: Bali: Land of Discovery™
Making an Impact: Serving as a GLA Global Ambassador
Traveling halfway around the globe is pretty rare for a teenager from the United States. Few even take the chance to study abroad when they get to college. But traveling with purpose at a young age is even rarer, and that is probably what lifted Brenden Picard up to the challenge.
Currently serving as a Global Ambassador for GLA, Brenden began his path to attending a GLA program over an obsession with titles – yes, program titles. Brenden said he’s “always loved titles. I judge titles. So ‘Land of Discovery’ was immediately enticing.”
So as you may have guessed, Brenden decided to pack his bags and head to Bali, where he spent 21 days on the Bali: Land of Discovery™ flagship program.
OK, so Brenden didn’t completely make his choice based on the program name. As he tells it:
There were many aspects that influenced my GLA program decision. One of the many reasons was of course working with children! Because GLA’s Bali program focused on teaching youth English in a summer day camp, I knew without a doubt this would be the program of my choice.”
Brenden found that the part of his volunteering experience that moved him the most was working with local kids in an educational setting. In particular, he’s seen the importance of teaching English, which “opens many doors” for further opportunities in business, education, and beyond to people who might otherwise have very limited access to such opportunities. But Brenden doesn’t want to be an overseas English teacher in the future, and his experience volunteering in Bali helped him to see what he really wants to achieve:
Realizing it was us helping these students had such an impact on me. I really can’t explain it on paper. However, most certainly, going on a GLA program has influenced my future direction of being a pediatrician.”
Brenden also found that he could stay connected to GLA after his experience in Bali by applying to be a global ambassador. After he was accepted, he’s been able to use stories from his trips to follow the ambassadors’ mission to inspire others to volunteer and travel abroad.
I just really wanted to get that mission out to my peers, my friends, and my family.”
While Brenden is finishing up his last few years in high school and working toward his dream of attending Columbia University or Northeastern, he’s still focused on making a difference in the world – and even more importantly – encouraging others to do the same.
He left these words of wisdom for others inspired to make change in the world:
Find your purpose, one that will challenge every part of you – both physically and mentally – to be at your best. It is not hard to find that purpose. Be adventurous and explore the diversity of people, places, cultures, and ideas that shape our very world today.”
Program Brenden attended:
Curious about exploring your own GLA adventure? Check these out:
- GLA Asia & the Pacific programs
- GLA Children programs
- GLA Find Your Passion programs