Lamar Shambley, a Gilman Alumni and Founder of Teens of Color Abroad (TOCA), won the prestigious Innovation Competition at the 2019 Diversity Abroad Conference in Boston, MA. The Diversity Abroad Innovation Competition, sponsored by CAPA the Global Education Network, brings together professionals and students with creative and outstanding ideas and programs that advance diversity and inclusive excellence in global education.
In Spring 2009, Shambley studied abroad in Seville, Spain through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. While in Spain, he discovered his passion for translating Spanish language hip hop songs to English and this inspired a deep passion for foreign language development. Upon his return to the U.S., Shambley wanted to give back to his community and provide equal access to teens of color the opportunity to study abroad. TOCA is a non-profit that provides high school students of color with language immersion summer study abroad experiences. High school students who participate in TOCA take three hours of Spanish class daily, have the opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain and assimilate with the culture, participate in weekend excursions to nearby cities such as Cádiz or Granada, and work in team building projects in New York City area. Shambley’s creative pitch at the Innovation Competition included a detailed overview of TOCA and lowering racial disparity in American students abroad. in addition, Shambley proposed connecting high school students with community elders during bingo nights to gain immersive experience by getting students involved in the community in both an intercultural and intergenerational level.
Click here to learn more about Teens of Color Abroad.