Gap year alum Ivy Jones spent her gap year expanding her knowledge and experience in environmental sustainability. She began her year with a Thinking Beyond Borders semester spent in Guatemala and Costa Rica education systems, sustainable agriculture and eco-tourism. Inspired by her experience with TBB, she dove deeper into environmental issues with EcoSwell, a grassroots organization based in Peru. There she assisted the organization in projects to support eco-tourism, reforestation projects and sustainable living. Her gap year informed her course of study at college and changed the ways she lives her daily life in order to have a lighter footprint on the planet. Ivy worked with GYA accredited gap year counselor Marion Taylor to formulate her plans.

Ivy with friend and community member during Thinking Beyond Borders semester

About Thinking Beyond Borders:

Thinking Beyond Borders is an educational institution helping students prepare for careers that improve our world. They believe meaningful learning comes from engaging directly with issues affecting people in the real world. TBB students live within communities, work alongside committed change leaders, develop a deeper understanding of the world, and identify their capacity to create meaningful impact.

About EcoSwell

EcoSwell is a surfing inspired not-for-profit NGO whose mission is to design and develop socio-environmental, educational and infrastructure projects with the purpose of guiding the development of vulnerable communities through a path of sustainability. We improve the lives of those in need and help protect our natural environment. Ivy found EcoSwell via Omprakash, a database of low-cost grassroots volunteer opportunities.

More about EcoSwell from Ivy:

“[In addition to the Surfanomics project] for a while I was in charge of collecting data on a reforestation project (interviewing
people in the community to see how it was going). I was in charge of
the composting toilet and collecting a sample to send to a lab to see
if we could use the compost, and I helped them design a new website.
Another interesting project I wasn’t directly involved in but learned
all about was an ecotourism project to build hiking trails and train
tour guides in a nearby town.”

About Taylor the Gap

Taylor The Gap is a personalized, inclusive gap year consulting service nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colorado. Founder and owner Marion Taylor works with young and adult students nationally from all orientations, abilities, and economic backgrounds, and emphasizes student ownership and direction in the design of customized gap experiences based on interests and goals. She distinguishes herself by experiencing and vetting gap programs in an ongoing basis to keep current of gap issues. Marion is fully registered with Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in case of security alerts or travel advisories. She also serves as keynote speaker at USA Gap Fairs and speaks regularly at colleges and high schools. Time out may be a gap year or semester between high school and college, between college terms, after college, mid-career, or during retirement. This period of self-exploration instills confidence, focus, and motivation for future educational pursuits in younger students, while enabling older adults to find purpose and connection in their later years.