Agents of Chan­ge: the fu­tu­re is now


For the first time in her li­fe, eigh­teen-year-old Mon­se­rrat Mar­tí­nez was lea­ving Me­xi­co, hea­ding to the Ga­lá­pa­gos Is­lands to join her fe­llow ‘Agents of Chan­ge’. Se­lec­ted amongst hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants, Mon­se­rrat was con­si­de­red the most qua­li­fied young com­mu­nity lea­der in La­tin Ame­ri­ca as part of the ‘Agents of Chan­ge’ com­pe­ti­tion hos­ted by MTV, in co­lla­bo­ra­tion with the pro­gram’s spon­sors Lo­ne­so­me Geor­ge & Co.

Par­ti­ci­pants from Ga­lá­pa­gos and Mon­se­rrat Mar­tí­nez en­ga­ged in a se­ries of ex­pe­rien­ce­dri­ven ac­ti­vi­ties that tes­ted their mettle: emo­tions, abi­li­ties, re­sol­ve, and de­ci­sion­ma­king… For foun­ders Geor­gi­na Mar­ten and Eduar­do Ba­la­re­zo, Mon­se­rrat’s pre­sen­ce had been cru­cial and ins­pi­ring. It helps brid­ge the gap bet­ween iso­la­ted Ga­lá­pa­gos and the world. “It was in­ter­es­ting to see the dif­fe­ren­ce bet­ween so­cial is­sues here on the is­lands and tho­se Mon­se­rrat des­cri­bed in Me­xi­co,” re­co­unts Ro­bert Bal­four, pro­gram coor­di­na­tor. “They are worlds apart. But af­ter sha­ring ex­pe­rien­ces, a deep con­nec­tion was ma­de. The at­ti­tu­de and so­lu­tion­see­king we­re the same.”

The Agents of Chan­ge Aca­demy was foun­ded by ap­pa­rel com­pany Lo­ne­so­me Geor­ge and Co. Chris­te­ned Mind-Shift-Im­pact, Lo­ne­so­me Geor­ge & Co. seeks to build awa­re­ness as a vi­tal tool to bring about chan­ge. Gea­red to­wards em­po­we­ring youths in the Is­lands to cha­llen­ge their so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal reali­ties, the Aca­demy crea­tes an ideal fra­me­work for the Ga­lá­pa­gos com­mu­nity to con­front its cha­llen­ges, many of which ha­ve yet to be iden­ti­fied, let alo­ne tac­kled. Joi­ning the spi­rit and phi­lo­sophy of two es­ta­blis­hed lea­ders­hip­buil­ding pro­grams – Out­ward Bound Ecua­dor and As­ho­ka Avan­ce­mos – Agents of Chan­ge fights hard to burst the Ga­lá­pa­gos’ bub­ble.

“When they first be­gin the pro­gram, so­me haven’t even tra­ve­lled to ot­her is­lands in the ar­chi­pe­la­go,” ex­plains Geor­gi­na. “They ba­rely un­ders­tand, if at all, the im­por­tan­ce of the Ga­lá­pa­gos on a glo­bal scale. This was one of the rea­sons we de­ve­lo­ped the pro­gram.”

The Ga­lá­pa­gos’ so­cial th­res­hold is com­plex. Hu­man pre­sen­ce in a con­ser­va­tion icon such as this, es­pe­cially in lar­ge towns li­ke Puer­to Ayo­ra, po­ses a pro­blem not only to the en­vi­ron­ment, but al­so to the town’s own de­ve­lop­ment, sus­tai­na­bi­lity and ove­rall well­being. “We see a cer­tain pas­si­vity in the young peo­ple. And we really need the­se kids to be ac­ti­ve and ca­re about their ho­mes and their su­rroun­dings if we ever want to ma­ke a dif­fe­ren­ce for such a vi­tal, and fra­gi­le, world li­ke the Ga­lá­pa­gos.”

Lo­ne­so­me Geor­ge & Co. is mo­re than a pro­du­cer of ‘res­pon­si­ble’ clot­hing, one see­king to spread en­vi­ron­men­tal awa­re­ness and the spi­rit of con­ser­va­tion. It is al­so a com­pany with a clear so­cial pur­po­se. The aca­demy, in this con­text, “seeks to de­ve­lop so­cial ou­treach, ge­ne­ra­ting com­pe­ti­tion amongst youths in Ga­lá­pa­gos, and pro­mo­ting en­vi­ron­men­tal awa­re­ness,” says Eduar­do Ba­la­re­zo, one of the foun­ders. 10% of sa­les are thus do­na­ted to each par­ti­ci­pant en­ro­lled in the Aca­demy.

Upon her re­turn to Me­xi­co, Mon­se­rrat said goodb­ye with tears in her eyes, whi­le the re­mai­ning Ga­lá­pa­gos agents of chan­ge pre­pa­red to pre­sent their projects to their com­mu­ni­ties, ta­king their first steps to­wards ma­king a dif­fe­ren­ce in the Ga­la­pa­gos, and the world.

Pa­ra ma­yor información / For mo­re in­for­ma­tion: www.lo­ne­so­me­geor­­demy

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