Washington, D.C.: A local non-profit, The Global Language Network (GLN), is being evicted with less than ten days notice after its Farragut Square building management announced a supposed renovation plan to start on November 1, despite the lack of any communication or signs of such a move over the course of its more than three year relationship with the non-profit. The property management communicated the last-minute decision as part of a plan to gain much higher rent for the space, forcing the charity out without a feasible option to stay past October 31 or return after the supposed renovation. While the building management acknowledged to GLN that the move is indeed in violation of both their written contract and DC leasing law, they also communicated that they are certain GLN would not fight this–as they know the non-profit does not have the means or resources for self-defense. Now GLN is scrambling to find locations to accommodate roughly 1,000 students, partners, teachers, volunteers, and staff, out of which over 600 are directly-affected by the wrongful, short-notice eviction. While such a move-out procedure can take months for any organization, GLN was only given until October 31st, and was informed that building access and facilities will be completely cut-off as of November 1st, unless the charity organization would be willing to cut a check to the owner for $10,000 for a one-month stay in its 190 square foot office, allowing access to a couple conference rooms on the floor. Despite a total lack of communication to GLN, the building management claimed that renovation plans had been in the works for six months, and that it was absolutely necessary to start renovation on November 1, and only the $10,000 check to the owner could buy the charity one more month in its home. GLN’s contract provides for a minimum 30-day notice, a grace period which, if enforced, would allow GLN to finish its biggest fall semester ever without disturbing the 600+ directly-affected individuals, while allowing its leadership team to find a new space alternative without the tremendous pressure that this unjustifiable time crunch has imposed.
The tight-knit team at GLN is focusing its energy on finding new space and keeping an upbeat attitude in this unexpected transition.
As a volunteer-driven, community-focused non-profit, GLN has taken to its network and issued a “call to action”, asking all Washingtonians to help find temporary homes for the 45 displaced language classes, as well as future homes for the next semester’s language class lineup. Given the uniqueness and simplicity of GLN’s model (native speakers volunteer to teach once per week for two hours at classes hosted for free, in unused conference rooms, by GLN partners throughout the DC-area), GLN is using this challenge as an opportunity to shed light on the kindness and generosity of Washingtonians who have already reacted to this situation by opening their unused conference room doors to host a GLN class or two in the spirit of GLN’s noble mission of “using language as a tool to help fix our world,” and its vision of “building a Network of givers, for givers, by givers.” GLN’s ability to serve the DC community on a larger scale is only impeded by its lack of class meeting space and therefore calls on all DC-area professionals to seek out any unused classroom or conference room that could host a language class once per week for two hours.
Andrew Brown, GLN’s Founder, President, and Executive Director has accepted this ordeal with a smile. “It’s no wonder that the Chinese words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are related,” stated Brown, “and it’s no coincidence that the same Hebrew word for ‘experience’ also means a ‘test’; both sourced from the same root word ‘miracle’. When we face our biggest challenges and crises head-on, with a smile and a positive attitude, we’re bound to see miracles, opportunities, and gain life-changing experience. Despite the tests and challenges we are all up against at GLN, I am confident we are going to come out even stronger and greater than ever, as an organization, as a community, and as individuals.” “I am so inspired by the way people are responding to this,” stated GLN Program Coordinator Bailey Wiles.
The Global Language Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded and grown in DC by GWU alumnus Andrew Brown since 2005, with the mission of “using language as a tool to help fix our world”. GLN does this through its immersive and engaging language classes which are open to the public, and particularly aims to impact changemakers such as the team of Red Cross doctors that learned Haitian Creole with GLN before a medical mission to Haiti, and the numerous beneficiaries of GLN’s Global Giver Fellowship, which awards free language classes to those who commit to using their GLN language skills for a greater good. Some Global Giver Fellows include Vanessa, using her GLN Portuguese for AIDs relief work in Brazil, Brennan, using her GLN Urdu to combat extremism in Southeast Asia, and David, using GLN’s Arabic to support his work with Arabic-speaking refugees at the UNHCR.
GLN embraces diversity and cross-cultural communication, engaging its 2,000 enrolled students in 180 classes, with 170 volunteer teachers; with the help of dozens of partners and approximately 100 volunteers (per year). This Fall 2017 semester GLN is teaching over 70 language classes to more than 830 adult students. For 12 years GLN has served the DC community with its idealistic mission, impacting thousands of individuals in every industry and sector, with the belief that everyone can benefit from greater communication, cooperation, and understanding. GLN cordially invites President Trump to its Korean classes and Kim Jong-un to its English (ESL) classes, with the recognition that even a little communication and understanding can go a long way towards solving world problems. GLN also invites First Lady, Mrs. Trump to teach Slovene once a week for two hours–at a location to be determined November 1.