In the summer of 2022, Youthlinc had the opportunity to host two fellows from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, a State Department program that elevates and supports developing professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean.
One fellow, Maria, from Colombia, has continued to work with Youthlinc since her fellowship ended in the summer. Maria is the founder of Life Academy. The purpose of Life Academy is to help young people prioritize and gain access to strategies that help them to be more resilient and manage their mental and emotional health more conscientiously.
Youthlinc has contracted with Life Academy this year to give access to all participants on the Service Year to this fantastic program. We understand at Youthlinc that creating lifetime humanitarians takes time, care, and addressing the whole person. Supporting our humanitarians with these types of strategies will help us achieve the mission on an even stronger level.
Beyond our work together with Life Academy, Maria was also inspired by Youthlinc’s Service Year model of working with youth for many months doing local service, cooperative learning, and project-based learning with an eye toward going on an international humanitarian trip. She began working with Justin, our Executive Director, and Jordan, our International Service Director, to evaluate how we could help Maria establish the Service Year model in Colombia, giving youth there similar opportunities as our youth in Utah.
Youthlinc had the opportunity in the fall to write a grant to the State Department in which we shared our plan to have Maria start a version of the Service Year in her home city of Manizales. And we are happy to report that we received a grant to help us make that happen.
At the end of January, Justin was able to travel to Colombia to meet with Maria and her team at Life Academy to establish Service Year there. We are looking forward to further collaboration in the future as we help others adopt our strategies of creating lifetime humanitarians. And we look forward to updating you next month with Part 2 about Justin’s work in Colombia.