Project Description

Jacob Gerardi of Fayetteville, New York graduated from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, where he was actively involved in Model United Nations, served as the Communications Manager for SciExcite Inc., actively participated in the productions of Phantom of the Opera, Newsies, Cinderella and Titanic and played violin in the orchestra. Jacob was also an Eagle Scout and a valued member of the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation Club. He has a passion for the arts, and loves playing the violin, participating in musical theater, and creating traditional beadwork pieces. Jacob plans to double major in Indigenous Studies and either Political Science or Global Studies along with a Spanish minor at UNC. He is passionate about activism, indigenous peoples’ rights, music, and art plans to continue at UNC.

During his gap year, spent the majority of his time between his two volunteer placements in La Habana (Havana, Cuba and in Navajo Nation between Dló̜’í Yázhí (Thoreau, MN) and Tse’zhin Dilkó̜ó̜h (Dilkon, AZ). In Cuba, Jake partnered with BarrioHabana and worked at a senior center to create activities for its residents as a well as classroom programming for the schoolchildren that visited daily. After his first placement, Jake worked with DigDeep Right to Water, a Human-Rights NGO currently working to expand access to fresh, potable water in Diné Bikéyah (Navajo Land). Between these placements, Jake did lots of shoestring-budget independent travel, relying on hostels, relatives, and the generosity of others in Mi’kma’ki, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Israel.

Read Jake’s blog posts here:

Pre-Departure: Reconstruction and Regrowth 

Hey, You Never Know: Dealing with Uncertainty in Mi’kma’ki

Disparities at home and abroad

Needs, Wants, and Equality

The Ethics of Global Volunteering

Reflecting on Growth