By: Isabella Scopetski
On December 12th, 2017 there was a Global Goods Fair in the main lobby during all three lunches and after school. Twice a year Jacquie Rodgers, a retired teacher from Maynard, comes to Arlington High, bringing jewelry and other items collected from her travels around the world to sell, donating 100% of all proceeds globally and locally.
Rodgers is the founder of Global Goods; a non-profit organization currently working with locals in Guatemala, Uganda and Indonesia. Rodgers visits these places “most every year along with other countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand and Peru”. After teaching in Maynard for 31 years, Rodgers decided to focus her energy on Global Goods full time.
“It was very easy to switch because I was always helping students and now I am just helping other individuals.” said Rodgers (now 70 years old).
Upon developing the fundraising aspect of global goods, “it had a twofold purpose” Rodgers said “One was to be able to help out locally and the second was to expose high school students to global issues and the diversity in the world.”
The organization is run by Rodgers and her husband, as well as volunteers and students, all of whom receive no income, making it a true non-profit. Rodgers said she “didn’t know anything about running a nonprofit foundation,” so she has been learning and adapting on the job.
Rodger’s commitment to helping others derives from her innate curiosity of the world, different cultures and foreign languages, which she has perpetuated since childhood. “I’ve been fortunate to have many foreign guests stay at my house and to travel to over 100 countries.” said Rodger .
Rodger hopes “to be able to keep self funding global goods for many years and somehow to keep it going forever”. She feels “very committed to [her] projects and in developing [the] global goods foundation.”
Rodgers attributes the success of her non-profit to the fact that “many people want to help others but don’t know how.” She said that “by buying items from Global Goods and hearing about the stories of the Artisans who make the goods, people know that they are helping.”
Rodgers “found that there are many people trying to make a difference in the world”. She thinks that “Students need to look around their own communities and maybe do a little research online to find places that need their help”; volunteer opportunities are not difficult to seek out. Every year she has at least one or two interns from her local high school to help out. Rodger believes that being open to volunteer positions in foundations local or global “will help them learn more about the world and themselves”
“I am a firm believer” said Rodger “that you need to go beyond your local area and explore other countries to really see what the world is about.” And to Rodger, “need” is a relative term. From her unique perspective “We have needs in the United States… But the need in other countries is so much more severe that you really [should] see it to believe it”.
“I think I have a keen sense of the inequities of the world” added Rodgers, “partly because of my travel and also because of some of my personal friends”. Rodgers stresses the importance of using the life we have to help make other people’s lives better, while in turn improving the quality of our own life. She considers her circumstances to be “very fortunate”, and “by seeing some of the inequities of the world with my own eyes” she added “ I think I’ve been inspired to help more than I would have if I was just staying in the US”.
To quote Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Rodgers believes Mandela’s statement best summarizes why she continues Global Goods.
“I have seen this in action and know that it may be slow, but it is so true” she said in reference to Mandela’s quote.
To get involved or for more questions about the Global Goods connection to AHS, contact AHS teacher Ms. Donohue who helps get clubs involved in helping Rodgers set up for Global Goods. Previously, the Dance Club connected with Global Goods and helped sell Goods while receiving 10% of all profits to fund their club.
To learn more about the mission of Globals Good and the travels of Jacquie Rodgers, you can visit: http://globalgoods.org/