YouthBuild Announces Second Leg Of Brazil-U.S. Student Exchange Program
July 11, 2018 — Boston area students and recent graduates from YouthBuild, the global youth service non-profit, will reunite with their Brazilian counterparts in the U.S. for the second leg of the YouthBuild Exchange – a program offering opportunities for YouthBuild students and graduates in its domestic and international programs to experience different cultures and expand their horizons for the future.
In November 2017, YouthBuild International (YBI) worked in collaboration with Centro de Promoção de Saúde (CEDAPS), its implementation partner in Brazil, to host the American students and expose them to what life is like for opportunity youth living in the favelas of Rio. The lasting connections the students made in Brazil will be reinforced here in the U.S. as they further discover the similarities and differences found in learning and work opportunities. A central focus of the exchange is to explore the different ways that young people can engage with their communities to become agents of change.
Over the course of the two-week trip beginning on July 16, students from the U.S. and Brazil will further bridge their life experiences and opportunities for the future. The agenda includes visits to local YouthBuild programs and partners, along with their respective public service projects; meetings with members of YouthBuild’s National Alumni Council and Young Leaders Council; introductions to elected officials and higher education leaders; visits to local historical sites and cultural attractions; a trip to the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School; and more.
Jason Martinez, a 19-year-old YouthBuild graduate from East Boston, participated in the exchange last year and will be welcoming the Brazilian students into his family’s home for the opening dinner of the trip. “I can’t wait to see my YouthBuild brothers and sisters and reconnect with them while they are in Boston,” Martinez said. “While in Brazil, we met people that we connected with on a deeper level and we realized we have so much in common. I am looking forward to showing them my hometown and treating them with the same hospitality that they showed us in Brazil.”
Funding for the Brazil-U.S. YouthBuild Exchange is made possible by Larry and Atsuko Fish. Brazil as a first destination was particularly important to Larry Fish, as he had lived and worked there and was eager to introduce more young people to the country and its traditions. The motivation for funding the Exchange program emanates from his deep belief that international travel can help young people see a world of possibility, feel empowered personally and know that they can make a difference in their communities.
“We are breaking down borders between our young people while introducing more collaboration and life-changing opportunities,” said Tim Cross, president of YouthBuild International. “In order for our opportunity youth to bring solutions and hope to their local communities, they need a global worldview. Our YouthBuild Exchange program helps foster this necessary perspective for a new generation of young leaders.”
“This next phase of our YouthBuild Exchange will strengthen the connections between our domestic and international students on so many levels,” said John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild USA. “We are committed to opening doors of opportunity and a world of bright futures for our youth, and the exchange is a critical step toward meeting that goal.”
YouthBuild plans to build on the success of this inaugural exchange program to offer this opportunity to more students and graduates.
YouthBuild is celebrating 40 years of work advancing its mission to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of young people to transform their lives and rebuild their communities. There are more than 260 YouthBuild programs in the U.S. and 100 programs in 22 countries outside of the U.S. that help unemployed and out-of-school young people attain their High School Equivalency (HSE) or high school diploma. During that time, they also learn career skills by building affordable housing and/or other community assets in their neighborhoods while engaging in community service and leadership training. Graduates leave prepared for success in postsecondary education, careers and registered apprenticeships — and as a part of a strong and supportive global community.