GULFPORT (WLOX) -- It's where friendships begin and young leaders blossom, among the youngest is 11 year-old Mark Rose of Pass Christian.
"I want to learn about how other cultures think of Americans, and how we think of them. I want to see if it's all true or if it's just people spreading rumors and things like that," says Rose.
Through the CISV (Children's International Summer Village) program, teens and young adults immerse themselves in month-long international exchange programs. The progam's ultimate goal is to help them build international friendships in hopes of creating a more peaceful world. Raleigh Marmorsteim has been with the program for seven years and traveled to at least five countries.
"You connect with the country. If there's a bombing somewhere, you don't just say oh that's really sad. You say 'oh my gosh, I have to make sure one of my friends is okay,'" says Marmorsteim of Detroit, Michigan.
"All CISV people bring a willingness, a willingness to open up to make friends and to grow as a person, and I think that's what makes the program so effective," says Ben Rusczek of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Besides expanding their view of the world, the program also strives to help teens develop more practical skills. Through a series of activities at this weekend long event, the teens say they are improving their ability to reason and communicate with others.
"I've liked that we got to use a lot of teamwork, and we got to use some social skills. We got to learn about how we meet people in a good way," says Rose.
Whether learning how to become a better thinker or making strides toward becoming a global citizen, these young people say CISV is helping them reach their goals.
There are 23 CISV chapters in the U.S. and 60 across the globe.
Pre-K and kindergarteners in George County School District are all heading to ride the Polar Express this week, and Tuesday's ride was reserved for a special group of kiddos in the district.More >>
The steel frame of the new wing of the George Co. Regional Health Complex is a tangible sign that those renovations are nearing completion.More >>
One adult died and two children were injured after a wreck in front of East Hancock Elementary School Tuesday night. It happened as the school's annual Christmas program was underway.More >>
Christmas, it is the season to be jolly. The season to be happy and giving. The season to get some days off from work. But we don't think anyone would disagree that as much as anything, 'tis the season to be driving and heavy traffic. It seems that everybody is on the streets as we count down the days for Christmas shopping.More >>
When Scott Hawkins crossed the Gulf Coast Marathon finish line, his wife was waiting for him wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt. His finish time qualified him for the Boston Marathon. But two days later, everything changed.More >>