BMWK: What is next for the Passport Party Project?
Tracey: The Passport Party Project, in phase one, were parties and at the end of the party, I would give them the money and tools they needed to go out and get their first passport. At the end of the 18 months, all 100 girls who got their passports were able to enter a contest in an effort to win an all-expense paid trip to Belize to get their first passport stamp. So I took 6 girls with a parent or guardian.
In phase two, I’m going to do it a little differently. I’m going to do it online mostly, where I’ll do it in groups of ten. So I’ll take ten girls through a 6-8 week online global awareness program. After that, they will research a local or global community project (just research but the hope is that it encourages them to do it). After they go through the training and research, they’ll get their passport, which I think will have more meaning. It’s going to become a right of passage. They hold onto their passport like a prize trophy. And that’s how I would like to think all 100 girls feel from phase one. But going forward, I’m going to make sure they feel that way by having them go through a series of steps before they get it. It’s not about just going to take a trip.
In phase two, I’m looking for sponsors, who are committed to serving girls in this way, to sponsor groups of ten girls. I would like every group that starts the program to go on a trip with me at the end, whereas with phase one, only six girls got to go. One of the biggest concepts of The Passport Party Project is teaching these girls to travel with heart; to think about the local community. I only want sponsors who care about that.
BMWK: Let’s talk about the selection process. How are the girls even considered/made aware of this program?
Tracey: In phase one, I picked ten cities and there were ten girls chosen in each city. I didn’t make it an open-call because that would’ve been way too much to manage. So instead, I found a local non-profit in each city whose agenda was similar to mine (empowering underserved kids).
This [project] is about independence and growth. If you prepare your children, when they do leave, they’ll be able to figure out when something isn’t right, and understand what their instincts are.
The idea is to give them information. You give a child a passport, and they’re like ‘WOW, this means that the world is accessible to me’.
That’s all it means. While it sounds like a small thing, it’s a really big thing when kids don’t ever consider leaving their city, state or country.