JUMP! Intern and Facilitator Hannah Short shares her experience, beginning in 2009 as a high school participant in a JUMP Program at her high school in Hong Kong, until now. Hannah is spending part of her gap year studying Chinese and interning at the JUMP! office in Beijing. 

I first came into contact with JUMP! in October 2009, when I participated in a JUMP! leadership training program at my school, Chinese International School (CIS), in preparation for the upcoming 2010 Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference. I remember not knowing what to expect, and being reluctant to give up my weekend. But I couldn’t be happier that I did.

The JUMP! program was like nothing I’d ever done before. Rather than simply getting into a group and trying to complete projects, like we had done numerous times at school, in addition to completing unique challenges, we were also constantly analyzing how the group worked, how it didn’t, and what we could do to make it better. We were also encouraged to think about our own limitations, and how to overcome them. After a whole weekend of problem-solving and personal growth, the participants (who were the main GIN leaders) became a tight-knit group ready to take on the conference.

JUMP! ran another training workshop in January for every CIS GIN participant in the run-up to the conference. Through challenges, visioning, and discussion, it made us into a team, where before we had just been a group of students. The GIN conference ended up being a huge success; all of our preparation paid off, and our team worked like a well-oiled machine, with all student helpers being where they needed to be at the right time.

On a personal note, the JUMP! program, and Justin’s personal coaching, really helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking. I was selected to be the co-mistress of ceremonies for the conference – which was to be in front of around 600 people in total – and in the count down to the event, the very thought of getting up on that platform sent my heart racing. During the JUMP! training we had a public speaking workshop, whereby we had to prepare a speech and perform it in front of gradually larger and larger groups, changing and perfecting it each time. In addition to this, Justin helped me and the other host prepare our first speeches. He taught us how to deliver them in a powerful way – because essentially we were shaping the whole conference.

Hannah speaking at the GIN Conference

Although I was extremely nervous, when the time came and I walked up to that podium, I was one hundred percent ready. Now I look back to that weekend with fond memories, and with awe at what I was able to accomplish with the tools that JUMP! gave me. At the end of that year – in large part thanks to JUMP! and the GIN conference – I was elected to be my schools Head Girl, a role that requires a lot of bilingual public speaking (in English and Chinese). All throughout my term as Head Girl I applied the tools I learned at JUMP!, and am very happy with the job that I did.

Beyond the preparation for the GIN conference, the JUMP! program reinforced my awareness that we are all ‘experts’, and that we have the power to make change within ourselves; it’s just a matter or harnessing that power. That has been a key lesson that I have kept with me until now. A lot of the time people wait around for things to happen. Now if I have a goal, I make it happen.

After the GIN conference I kept in sporadic contact with Justin. When he came back to CIS to run a program, I jumped at the chance to catch up with him. It was my senior year, and when I told him I would be in Beijing the following September, he offered me the opportunity to intern at JUMP!. I immediately agreed.

I’ve now been working at JUMP! for three months (in addition to attending Chinese classes every morning). It’s been hugely rewarding. I’m doing something I really believe in – because I truly do have faith in the power of youth. I’m so excited to be a part of something so positive, dynamic, and alive. The work we do is great, and the team itself is awesome. I’m so happy to have met such great, intelligent, motivated people, who work so well together. Ultimately I think the team is so successful because we apply in our work the very tools we introduce in our programs.

I’ve already been involved in a range of projects, from organizing the quarterly newsletter Ubuntu, to visioning for the next 3-5 years of the organization, to mapping out the alumni network, to facilitating programs. I’ve enjoyed every part of it, but facilitating has definitely been the most engaging. It’s great to see the learning process from the other side, and to observe the different group dynamics. Not only has it taught me a lot about the students we work with, but also about myself, and about how I learn. I can’t wait to do more, and to be a part of the personal growth and self-discovery of more students.

I’ve begun to implement more and more JUMP! tools in my own life. I now strive to be a leader (rather than a vacationer, or a prisoner) in all that I do. I also make goals, and vision statements, in order to have direction.

My gap year so far couldn’t be going better, in large part thanks to JUMP! – and I’m excited to say that I’ll be back to work here over the summer! Here’s to more personal growth!

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