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AFAR Media Sends 24 High School Students to Costa Rica through Learning AFAR Program

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Oakland students and teachers in the Monteverde cloud forest.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The AFAR Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AFAR Media, celebrated the first year of its Learning AFAR program. In partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Explorers, the AFAR Foundation designed Learning AFAR to help underserved students see and experience the world. In July and August of 2010, Learning AFAR sent 24 high school students from Oakland, California, and Yonkers, New York, to Costa Rica. Each of the students demonstrated significant financial need, a high level of merit, and a compelling argument for why he or she would benefit from this experience.

Learning AFAR emphasizes service, leadership, cultural exchange, and environmental conservation. The program made positive, lasting impact on both groups of students. “I learned how to better open up to others, as well as to really start paying attention to the needs of our planet,” said Yonkers High School student Devanira Aponte. Since returning home the students have made use of the program’s post trip activities to implement lessons from their trip abroad. As Yonkers High School student Selja Kumar said, “This trip gave me a clearer vision of who I am, and I know now that I want to make a difference in my own community after learning how many people need help.”

Oakland students painted an elementary school room in Tirimbina with local students.

On September 28, 2010, AFAR Media hosted a celebration for Learning AFAR at the Urban Zen Center in New York. Guests enjoyed a presentation by teacher Chris Vicari and his Yonkers High School students from the first Costa Rica trip this summer, as well as an introduction from AFAR Media founders Joe Diaz and Greg Sullivan.

Building on the program’s success and increased funding, Learning AFAR is expanding. Now embarking on its second year, Learning AFAR is approaching additional schools and is currently exploring new destinations for next summer. With the Pearson Foundation as Learning AFAR’s new premier sponsor, Learning AFAR will look to award at least 40 students from four different U.S. cities with international trips in 2011.

AFAR Foundation Contact:

Laura Levinsohn, 415.806.5243 [email protected]

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