On Monday, November 12, the second presentation of this year's Gray Colloquium series—"Creating Change"— featured Bryan Linck Vice President of Outreach360 (formerly Orphanage Outreach).
Linck's message was that all important change takes time, incremental steps, little by little—"poco a poco." Outreach360 started in 1995 as Orphanage Outreach to assist an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. As the Orphanage Outreach volunteer abroad program grew, much more of the program's efforts expanded to provide support to disadvantaged neighboring communities, focusing on education: English, literacy, and community health. Since 2011, Outreach360 has continued to provide affordable service trip experiences in Latin America. This volunteer abroad opportunity opens doors for service-minded individuals interested in learning about new cultures. Outreach360 is now an international non-profit committed to enhancing the education of underserved children in Latin America.
Linck first volunteered with the organization while in college, back in 2003-2004. He joined the staff full-time in 2006 and lived in the Dominican Republic, where he was the Orphanage Outreach team director, responsible for supervising all volunteers. He went on to direct Outreach360's marketing, and is currently the organization's vice president, working from his home in Michigan but traveling often to Latin America to
help coordinate Outreach360's efforts.
Since 2007, St. Mark's has been involved with the program, sending numbers of volunteers—students, faculty, and staff—to the Dominican Republic. More than 100 St. Mark's volunteers have impacted the lives of more than 1000 young people there. Overall, more than 24,000 volunteers have worked with Outreach360 in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Before the formal presentation, Bryan Linck had lunch with interested students and faculty—including several veterans of the Outreach360 experience—to talk about the program. From the stage of the Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall, Linck challenged the St. Mark's audience to find something they were passionate about and to work hard to effect change, poco a poco, never giving up.
After the presentation, Linck took time to pose for a photograph with everyone currently at St. Mark's who had previously participated in the Outreach360 experience (see picture above).
The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium Series is designed to engage St. Mark's students in an exploration of one complex global issue annually. Students hear from outside speakers with varying viewpoints, participate in small group discussions, write about and debate the issue, and take part in all-community events. C. Boyden Gray '60, former Board President and current Trustee Emeritus, has committed $1.5 million to fund this annual yearlong learning exercise. St. Markers, Gray believes, "should think in big terms and be inquisitive about the outside world." Gray, a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, White House counsel to the first President Bush, and recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, hopes that tackling these topics in an intensive fashion will inspire students to serve their country and the world.