Joandriz Gonzalez, 17, traveled from her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela to the United States last fall. She was a participant in Partners’ State Department and U.S. Embassy-sponsored Youth Ambassadors (YA) program, which gives high schoolers the opportunity to travel internationally, build and improve leadership skills and develop a commitment to service.
In October 2015, 17-year-old, Patricia Salazar traveled with 19 other youth from Venezuela and Colombia to the United States for one month as a participant in the State Department-funded Youth Ambassadors program. “It was a dream come true…the chance to know, enjoy and learn about cultures different from mine,” Salazar said.
Partners is proud announce the 2016 Youth Ambassadors from Colombia and Venezuela! The group consists of 20 youth and three adult mentors who will travel to Washington, D.C. for one week, and subsequently spend two weeks in either Arkansas or Tennessee. The youth were selected in an open competition for students ages 15-18 who have outstanding school records, display leadership qualities and have demonstrated interest in improving their local community.
Este año los jóvenes de Partners of the Americas de 15-29 años participaron en el Dia Global del Voluntariado Juvenil, un evento anual que reúne a miles de jóvenes de todo el mundo a participar, organizar y desarrollar proyectos de servicio existentes o únicas en sus propias comunidades.
When Ronald Torreyes was only 14 years old, he set off on a trip he now deems the “opportunity of a lifetime.” It was the first time he left his home country of Venezuela and traveled to the United States, as one of four youth from Venezuela and Nicaragua selected for a U.S. Department of State sports exchange program led by Partners of the Americas.
Being a Youth Ambassador is a life-changing experience. I learned a lot and left motivated to show the world that I am a leader and make a positive impact on society and change peoples’ lives. It’s a big responsibility to represent your country and a great organization – Partners of the Americas. But in the three weeks I spent in DC and Tennessee, I felt like my life stopped and I was living in a dream.
Partners of the Americas’ Youth Ambassadors program was much more than just a simple trip; I grew, I was challenged, and succeeded in more ways than I ever thought I could. It was the first time I got on a plane, traveled outside of my country, interacted with deaf students and above all my first time representing my country abroad.
Edited and Published by: Pamela Picon, Intern, Partners of the Americas
Foreword by: Abraham Cisne, Senior Program Officer, Youth Engagement
Partners is proud to highlight that last year´s Youth Ambassadors (YA) program funded by the U.S. State Department was an enormous success, including challenging innovations and involving Partners chapters that haven´t hosted in a long time. The 2014 YA program involved 45 very competitively selected participants from both Venezuela and Colombia who, after a week in Washington, DC, were hosted in three states: Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida. Youth participants ages 15-17 were selected through a process that considered merit, limited income and no previous travel abroad. The program focused on leadership, service/volunteerism, mutual understanding, and long-term engagement. Its sub themes included the environment and public safety.
I’ve been a member of the Partners of the Americas’ family since my participation on the Youth Ambassadors program in spring 2010-- five years ago. By that time I had just turned fifteen, and I was a junior in High School in Caracas, Venezuela. Now it’s been almost two years since I’ve been living and studying at university in Montpellier, in the south of France.