World Smart is a new organization founded in Chattanooga in June designed to provide traditionally underserved and underrepresented high school students the opportunity to study abroad.
According to a UC San Diego study, students who study abroad have higher GPAs and are 19 percent more likely to graduate. World Smart’s program seeks to capitalize on the positive effects of studying abroad and couples an educational curriculum with STEM tutoring, entrepreneurship training, and courses in financial literacy, said oficials.
World Smart is also unique in that, despite the rising cost of education, it removes the financial burden of studying abroad from the students. World Smart connects with corporate and local business leaders who support the program and become World Smart Ambassadors, building mentorship relationships with students to help prepare them for the competitive workforce.
Students in the program will complete lessons in business, history, and language, and engage in service projects while abroad. World Smart’s Founder Byron Francis citing his own study abroad experience, predicts that student will not only improve academically, but will also become more confident, self-aware, and active in their communities.
The World Smart team has initiated a crowdfunding campaign to assist in the initial startup cost of the program. Crowdfunding is a new trend of funding new projects that allows the average person to offer support in small increments. Mr. Francis calls the campaign “an opportunity for Chattanoogans to invest in the future of their own community.”
The campaign can be found on the RocketHub website and will continue through Jan. 1. More information about World Smart can be found at their website www.WorldSmartLeaders.com.
Mr. Francis earned a B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2007. He went on to complete graduate work in Professional Media and Media Management Studies from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois in 2010. Mr. Francis returned to Georgia to complete his MBA from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga. in 2013. He has traveled extensively and has completed study abroad programs in Sustainability Development and International Business in Tours, France and in Beijing and Shanghai, China. After marrying and moving to Chattanooga in 2013, Mr. Francis began development of World Smart. He is passionate about education, community development, mass media, and world affairs and seeks to share his experience of seeing the world and love for learning with young people through World Smart.