Peace Corps volunteers help young people develop life skills on International Youth Day

August 12, 2018

WASHINGTON – In honor of International Youth Day today, Peace Corps highlights volunteers who are making a lasting difference in the lives of children and young adults. Peace Corps volunteers are teachers, mentors, and friends to young people in communities around the globe. Founded by the United Nations in 1999, International Youth Day acknowledges the need to engage youth in development initiatives.

Currently, eleven percent of volunteers work in Peace Corps’ Youth in Development sector, yet many volunteers serving in other sectors also work on secondary projects that engage and empower children. Below find the stories of two Peace Corps volunteers working on projects related to Youth in Development.

Philippines International Youth Day
During the diversity camp, nine students from nine different universities were trained to facilitate a session on People with Disabilities (Photo and caption courtesy of Evelyn Estrada)

Philippines

Volunteer Evelyn Estrada of Anaheim, California, works at a university in the Philippines, helping almost 300 students from low-income families graduate successfully with skills for the workplace. She has coordinated multiple camps for the students, including a Respecting Individuality and Striving for Equality (RISE) diversity camp. The university where Evelyn works hosted students from other universities across the Philippines for the camp. During RISE, students discussed large-scale social issues, such as the impact of HIV/AIDs and inclusion for people with disabilities. When they returned home to their respective universities, these students held smaller discussion groups on the same topics they covered at RISE. These break-off discussions reached nearly 600 students across the country. Evelyn says that the camp was the biggest success story of her service.

“It was fulfilling for me to witness the collaboration between two different cultures address social issues and advocate for inclusivity.  It was also a rewarding feeling to see students feel empowered to facilitate difficult topics to their peers…I am grateful for all the people that came together for this event and the effort invested by everyone.”

Armenia International Youth Day
The boys were assigned a task to work as team in building a tower out of paper. This activity helped improve their communication, listening and teamwork skills. (Photo and caption courtesy of Julissa Reynoso)

Armenia

In Armenia, volunteer Julissa Reynoso of Homestead, Florida, is an administrator for Teaching Our Boys Excellence (TOBE), a camp for Armenian boys. TOBE teaches boys life skills and helps improve how they communicate. It also helps educate young males in Armenia about gender equality. In addition to writing grants, Julissa plans logistics and writes curriculum for the camp.

Julissa also holds a weekly conversation club with youth in her community to help them foster critical thinking and problem solving skills. She says the young people she works with have had the greatest positive impact on her service.

“The youth whom I’ve worked with are truly motivational and amazing. I honestly don’t know what my service would’ve been without them. They really have taught [me] to have fun and challenged stereotypes of what people think Armenians are. We’ve accomplished a lot together.”

Find current open youth in development positions here.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 230,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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