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Monday, June 29, 2015

Dodgers Prospect Credits Sports Exchange with Paving Path Towards Success

By: Natassja Ruybal, External Relations Intern, and Gayle Campbell, Senior Communications Officer (Español a continuación)

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.

Torreyes (second from the left), and his fellow exchange
program participants meet former President George W. Bush
in 2006.
Accompanied by 8 coaches and 2 journalists, Torreyes and the other players spent 10 days in the U.S., where they attended the first ever World Baseball Classic in Orlando, toured the Houston Astros’ facilities and participated in coaching clinics. A meeting with a famous Venezuelan baseball player left a lasting impression on Torreyes when he told him to “never give up because a person can achieve anything through hard work.” The group continued to DC, where they visited various NGOs and schools, and even got to meet President Bush on the White House grounds. The experience was integral in shaping the person Torreyes is today, and an integral part in the hardship-filled journey of his professional baseball career.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ARTing for Social Change

By: Mariangel Garcia, 2013 Venezuelan Youth Ambassador

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.

After returning from the United States, I volunteered with a number of different organizations, including a foundation that supports women with breast cancer and groups that help low- resource children and families.

As a Youth Ambassador, you’re required to implement a community service project when you return home. As I was thinking about what my own project would be about, I knew that I wanted to work on something that reflected my interests. I've always felt passionate about photography, – it’s a beautiful art and allows you to be very creative – so I decided I wanted to implement an art project! I ultimately decided the project should not be photography-focused because it would be too hard to work with children.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Empowering Fathers as Agents of Change

Father’s Day is a chance to celebrate and appreciate all of the dads around the world. This year, Partners is taking a closer look at the fathers involved in our Haiti Nutrition Security Program (NSP).

NSP uses the care group model to spread knowledge among Haitian communities in order to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five. The program’s overall goal is to promote behavior change in nutrition in four geographic focus areas of Haiti in coordination with the Ministry of Health. The majority of the care groups are comprised of Mother Leaders, women who attend training sessions and then pass their knowledge onto other families in their neighborhoods.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Meet Our 2015 Youth Ambassadors

Partners of the Americas is excited to welcome the newest participants in our Youth Ambassadors program to Washington, DC this July, before sending them onward to Colombia! This year’s participants make up an eclectic group of 15-17 year-old students that have been selected from Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Minnesota and North Carolina.

From Model UN participants and Eagle Scouts, to aspiring law students and film directors – these students come from a variety of backgrounds and interests – but collectively share outstanding school records,
leadership qualities, and an inspiring passion for service and cultural awareness.

Come July 7th, these students will convene in Washington, DC for a week before spending three weeks in Colombia engaging with local governments and organizations, as well as building relationships with Colombians.

We cannot wait to see all that these young men and women learn during their time as Youth Ambassadors, and how they will use what they learn to design and implement service projects that benefit their communities in the United States. It is our hope and intention that youth like these will positively influence future relations between both countries – all as a part of Partners’ mission to connect, serve, and change lives.

Get to know this year’s exceptional group of Youth Ambassadors below:

En Español

Friday, June 12, 2015

No to Child Labor, Yes to Education!

In Latin America and the Caribbean, an estimated 13 million children are involved in child labor. Many of them come from poor, low-educated families, aren’t enrolled in school and endure dangerous working conditions. Often, they work for their families, whose economic survival depends on the additional income their children bring in.

The consequences of child labor are grave – and are felt by individuals, families, communities and countries alike. On an individual level, nearly 1 in 4 economically active children suffer injuries or illnesses while working. Nationally, countries with high levels of child labor are unable to harness human resources, and talents and skills are often wasted as future scientists, artists and teachers drop out of school after falling victim to child labor. This slows the overall economic growth of a country, perpetuates the cycle of poverty, and in turn, the cycle of child labor as well.

It’s a complicated cycle – one that, without intervention, is nearly impossible to break. But with a two-tiered approach that combines family livelihood support with quality education, we can break the cycle.