FORA.tv Speaker - Tracey Friley
A passport is the ultimate ticket to ride, the key to unlocking the world and engaging with new ideas. But securing one can be a hurdle. Little more than a third of Americans have passports-compare that with 67 percent of Canadians who hold one-and it's not just the price ($135 for adults, $105 for minors) that holds would-be travelers back but also the uncertainty of how to travel. This challenge is even more pronounced in poor urban areas.
Tracey Friley decided to do something about it. She launched Passport Party Project, a grassroots initiative to provide underserved girls the tools they need to obtain their first passports. When the program's first phase wrapped up this summer, 100 girls had received passports and six young travelers made their debut international journey to Belize. Funded by Expedia.com, the program proved such a success that Friley is busy plotting her next steps.
"To struggling families, international travel is a luxury, an unattainable goal," says Friley. "So passports aren't a priority because they don't feel they can travel internationally anyway. But I think travel should be available to everyone, particularly children. The sooner they explore, the better for the world."
The Oakland-based Friley caught the travel bug early, and her youthful journeys made a lasting impact. "Travel is important for kids because they get a chance to see for themselves that the world is bigger than their neighborhood, their state, or their country," says Friley. "I want kids to know that the world's borders are meant to be crossed, that it's cool and interesting to meet people from other countries and cultures, and that they themselves are cool and interesting, too."
02.06.14 | 00:28:32 min
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