Danielle Gletow was destined to grant wishes. After fostering and then adopting a newborn, Danielle found her life calling. A 2013 CNN Hero, Danielle has devoted herself to finding ways to help more than 400,000 children in foster care. Danielle founded One Simple Wish in 2008 with the goal of granting wishes to children in foster care across the country and those who've aged out of foster care. On One Simple Wish, people can view wishes from foster children and make contributions that make those wish come true. Wishes range from toys to school supplies, music lessons or trips to a theater or pool. Last year, One Simple Wish reached 20,000 youth.
In our conversation, Danielle shares the deeply personal story that led her to foster care, her experiences with the foster system and why the children in the foster system need our attention and support. If you have been thinking of ways to contribute and help others during these challenging times, One Simple Wish was started with the goal of giving people an opportunity to connect with foster kids and easily make meaningful contributions.
Danielle is asking us to go to One Simple Wish and read the stories. She says, “just by you acknowledging their existence and their journey and maybe sharing it with somebody else, or becoming more aware, you then become part of their village.” Research studies have shown a strong correlation between foster care and so many other critical issues in our society. Danielle’s vision is to connect people with foster kids while bringing light and awareness to the system, that in turn will hopefully lead to positive change. Danielle says, “We need more people recognizing that our foster system is incredibly broken and it is all of our problem.“ If you enjoy this conversation, please share it with a friend and help us share Danielle’s message and goal of helping kids in foster care.
How often during your college years did you wonder - How are these classes going to help me? What will do I with the information I am learning? What if you had the chance to discover your “why” during a yearlong opportunity — before you kicked off your career? That’s exactly what Abby Falik has created for individuals during a gap year between high school graduation and college entrance with Global Citizen Year.
Abby is the founder of the organization, which also helps students stretch themselves, learn about cultures and languages, gain experiences and memories.while staying with host families in Brazil, Ecuador, India and Senegal, and work as apprentices in local organizations.
In our previous conversation from 2018 (episode #82), Abby shared the roots of her passion and what made her determined to make the gap year part of every student’s college experience. In our latest conversation, Abby shares the launch of Global Citizen Academy, a new program bringing together high school students worldwide for the opportunity to explore topics such as effective communication, systems thinking and ethical decision-making. Global Citizen Academy is seizing this historic moment to help high school graduates find ways they can help their communities within an organization that has proven leadership training.
Abby was once the type of student she hopes to inspire. She was attending college at Stanford when she realized that she was longing for more than simply listening to professors in lecture halls. Abby took a break and spent a year in Brazil working and traveling. After coming back to Stanford after this life-changing journey, she noticed she gained confidence and maturity, which she credits with altering the course of her life. But before Abby realized her vision, she worked in a nonprofit — managing, building and creating ideas — and then attended Harvard to obtain an MBA that would help her create Global Citizen Year.
Listen to episode #82, where Abby shares her story. We also discuss the exciting trends in education and how our perceptions and expectations of higher education can (and should) change to adapt to how we live. We discuss what inspires Abby’s work and why she hopes the model of taking a “bridge year” will soon become the norm for most students in the United States.