Horizon Networks: International Presence Established

During the late months of 2020, Horizon Networks began to further expand by utilizing chapters on an international scale. Throughout the months of November - January, international chapters began to be established in countries all around the world at a rapid rate, including China, Japan, India, Middle East, etc. Furthermore, partnerships were formed with international nonprofits as well as local senior centers, allowing for additional advancement and exposure to new opportunities.

When considering volunteers as international chapter leaders, the founders specifically looked for individuals who harbored some sort of emotional tie to the country, whether it be their place of residence or if they had relatives and friends who resided there. This allowed the leaders to develop an emotional connection to the chapter, preventing demotivation and abandonation as well as encouraging general growth.

The work done in each international chapter greatly depended on the country’s individual laws and regulations as well as the general culture and social norms. Since Horizon Networks would be held responsible for any issues which might have arisen within each country due to its unique laws, each chapter was approached differently. Though the mission statement remained true in each chapter, different activities were implemented based on the distinctive factors of each area. Chapters in Japan and Korea ended up being similar to the chapters in the United States, while Middle Eastern chapters focused on more religion-centered activities and South America chapters implemented resource and funding based projects. This allowed each chapter to be utilized to the most of their potential by celebrating the customs and norms of each location while staying true to the definition of a chapter; working independently while ultimately accomplishing the same goals.

Much of the growth achieved during these months is also credited to the many partnerships formed during this time, including both international nonprofits as well as local city and state governments. City and state departments were crucial in achieving the desired growth model of the organization, where output was maximized and exponential growth was achieved. This was mainly accomplished through gaining exposure through promotional material as well as building reputation within the communities. This exposure allowed Horizon Networks to reach even more senior centers as well as student volunteers without compensating the time and energy of the founders. Partnerships with international nonprofits were also advantageous as they provided both volunteers and connections; working with existing volunteers promised dedication while connections provided gateways to more versatile opportunities. Some international nonprofits worked with during this time included Red Cross, Healing Haiti, and NuDay Syria.

Many of the partnerships established in the chapters were also with senior centers. The founders made sure to cater to the senior centers and provide activities and resources that they could not supply themselves. Organizers also planned accordingly with the unique customs and culture norms of each senior center; when working with Priya Living, a senior home with a predominant Indian population, volunteers put together activities that were Indian themed, including a museum tour that was centered around locations and landmarks in India. This allowed seniors to feel more comfortable and involved in the activities, build personal connections between the seniors and volunteers, and bridge the generation gap by finding similarities in their experiences.

With the foundation of international chapters established, Horizon Networks was able to shift its focus to working on expanding online presence, establishing a new blog, acquiring 501(c)(3) status, and developing an app over the next few months. Although, the founders hope that the international chapters will continue to expand as Horizon Networks develops, with the ultimate goal to eventually establish a chapter in every single state and country.