OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Takai Ginwright is perhaps one of the most globally informed students at Oakland's School for the Arts.
Last summer he traveled to the Dominican Republic where he spent more than two weeks volunteering with a local community. It's all possible thanks to an Oakland-based organization called Global Glimpse.
"Travel is not a luxury. It provides you with new eyes to look at you own life and your opportunities," said Global Glimpse Executive Director, Eliza Pesuit.
Because of private donations, Global Glimpse is able to take students from underserved communities in the Bay Area to impoverished areas of countries like Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
Global Glimpse is different because these are kids from underserved communities, who could never really afford to travel to Latin America for 18 days just to volunteer.
Students Jada Banks and Imani Diltz volunteered at a school with disabled students in Nicaragua.
"We painted murals in the school and put carpet in, try to give it a brighter tone. They were lacking a lot of resources and their building wasn't in great condition," said Banks.
"Having the opportunity to see how people outside of my comfort zone live day to day life," explained Diltz.
Since it started in 2007, Global Glimpse has taken 1,900 students to Latin America. The hope is that they come home to become civic leaders in their own communities.
Jose Lujano from East San Jose is a good example.
"Since Global Glimpse, his first time out of the country, first time getting a passport, since then he's lived in London, he's traveled to countries across Europe, he did an internship with the State Department and now he's working in politics in East San Jose," said Pesuit.
"I like to give back to my community. That's what I learned out there, how we were giving back there to their community, I brought that back here," said Ginwright.
This summer, they are taking 509 students from 40 Bay Area high schools to Latin America, where they will participate in service programs.