NEW: The YUGA Support Committee

The Youth and Economic Empowerment Team at Plan International USA  would like to introduce the Youth United for Global Action Network to a new initiative: The YUGA Support Committee! In an attempt to better support and connect our YUGA network, we have informally identified youth that will serve as “mentors” to new and existing YUGA Chapters. Currently, the YUGA Support Committee consists of Plan International USA Youth Advisory Board members and current YUGA members that have volunteered to share their experiences with and knowledge of YUGA and Plan International’s advocacy campaigns, international development issues, and youth empowerment initiatives.

The YUGA Support Committee are fellow youth that you can contact if you need any support with your YUGA Chapter! In addition to Plan staff, we hope you will use the mentors as a resource when you are starting your new YUGA chapter, need more ideas for your current chapter, or need assistance organizing your next event! In addition to supporting YUGA chapters, the Support Committee will also be creating toolkits and complimentary webinars (outside of Because I Am A Girl, Give Differently, and Walk4Wells), so that chapters have ample engagement activities and resources throughout the entire year. Ultimately, we hope that the additional support from like-minded youth will create a more energized and connected YUGA Network.

To contact the members of the YUGA Support Committee please email yuga@planusa.org and we will forward you to any or all of the mentors!

Meet the YUGA Support Committee!

kyle_bioKyle

I first started working with Plan as a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas, a partner organization of Plan’s, in Cajamarca, Peru in the summer of 2013. I’ve always admired the values that Plan promotes and protects when advocating for and empowering youth through many innovative mediums. The voices of youth around the world are bursting with innovation, passion, and leadership, and I am proud to be part of a family that makes those voices heard!

 

Linda-06-14-14-Portrait-42Clare

I have been involved with Plan for 10 years now. I helped found YUGA in 2004 after a Plan-sponsored conference with youth from around the world. Since then, I have helped plan YUGA’s Leadership Summit, which provides a place for youth to discuss global issues as well as work on their public speaking and leadership skills. I became involved with the YAB about two years ago. I find youth empowerment and youth involvement to be a major player in any global issue, as all global issues influence youth.

 

my faceBrenna

I first got involved with Plan two years ago through the YUGA Leadership Summit. I was so empowered by the Summit that I started a YUGA club at my school and became a member of the YUGA Steering Committee (which has now joined with the YAB). I love being a part of Plan because of the inspiring, hilarious, and deeply passionate people I’ve met by working with them. Plan has helped me see that the world is an amazingly vibrant place, and that there are so many benefits when we embrace it.

 

rachel_bioRachel

I first got involved with Plan when I was nine years old, when I joined YUGA. Since then, I have been involved with YUGA in my school and community. I am excited to be a part of the YAB as it gives me a chance to voice my opinion about various global issues while also getting to know youth that share similar passions as I do.

 

 

Nadyah Hilmi pictureNadyah

I have been involved with Plan for 5 years now. I first got involved with YUGA at the Leadership Summit and have been an active member ever since. I also represented Plan at RTI International’s ‘Ideathon’ Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. I am motivated and inspired by all the work that YUGA members do and believe youth empowerment and activism is crucial to solving many current global issues. I hope that together we can develop and expand the YUGA network to reach more communities and inspire more youth leaders.

 

Nadyah: Youth Judge at RTI International’s ‘Ideathon’

Nadyah participating as  a judge at RTI International's Ideathom

Nadyah participating as a judge at RTI International’s Ideathon

I’ve always known how imperative it is for youth to have a voice in global development, especially when it pertains to issues affecting youth, such as youth unemployment. The current state of global youth unemployment poses a serious threat to social and political stability, as well as to economic growth. It’s an issue that requires a global response, which brings together multiple stakeholders, including youth themselves. This is why I was grateful to represent Plan International USA as a youth delegate at RTI International‘s ‘Ideathon’. This was an opportunity like no other; instead of participating in a workshop or listening to a speaker, I was asked to sit on a panel of judges and provide input on the final products developed during the event. Being the only young person at the event, I realized how important it was for me to speak up so that my voice would be heard.

The Ideathon was two days long and it included representatives from various companies, NGOs, and governmental organizations. Our purpose was to come together to formulate potential projects that would solve the global youth unemployment crisis. On the first day, twenty people from various sectors gave two minute pitches on how to address global youth unemployment. Of the twenty pitches, five ideas were chosen to be developed further and presented to the judges on the second day of the event.

The other judges and I were able to see the original ideas and the final products the groups had come up with. The ideas ranged from micro-lending programs, to implementing entrepreneurial skills-training workshops, to an online platform that will allow youth to share their stories of unemployment. To say the least, the presentations were extremely creative; ranging from skits, to PowerPoint presentations, to singing. The enthusiasm was electrifying.

It was interesting to see how the pitches had developed from a single person’s idea to a more comprehensive plan refined by the entire group. I was able to witness the importance of bringing together diverse groups of people and was able to identify the unique perspectives that were brought to each idea.

In the deliberation room, the other judges and I debated the merits and weaknesses of each idea. As the only young person, I was concerned at first that I would not have as much knowledge on the subject as the others. However, I realized the other judges would not be able to provide the same perspective that I brought to the table. Each of the judges’ background and experiences enabled the group to have a meaningful discussion where various arguments were heard and considered. After our mediation, we returned to the main hall to present our criticisms to the group.

Attending the Ideathon has made me more determined to raise awareness of global issues affecting youth. I realize now, more than ever, the importance of youth participation across society. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, as well as the other opportunities that I have had with Plan International USA. I hope that the next event will include more youth representatives so even more angles can be considered. With the current state of youth unemployment, it is critical for those who are affected by the issue to have a voice in the projects and ideas that are being developed to assist them. Perhaps it is a good sign that the most popular idea among Ideathon participants was called “Youth Voices”.

The YUGA Network receives The Emerging Leader Award!

A few members of the Youth United for Global Action (YUGA) network accepting The Emerging Leader Award

Members of the Youth United for Global Action (YUGA) network accepting The Emerging Leader Award

The Youth Engagement Team at Plan International USA is happy to announce that on March 4th the Youth United for Global Action (YUGA) network was awarded The Emerging Leader Award by Leadership Rhode Island, a nationally recognized community leadership development organization.

Every year, Leadership Rhode Island brings together members of the greater Rhode Island community to honor the state’s most inspiring leaders at the Annual Inspiring Leaders Awards Luncheon. Leadership RI presented four inspiring leaders awards, the Emerging Leader Award being one. The Emerging Leader Award recognizes outstanding young people whose vision, dedication, and leadership qualities have inspired others to take action to create community change.

“I encourage you to include young people in the voice of your communities. We are passionate and driven, full of new ideas. We are honest and humble, and we are ready to become engaged in our communities. Youth governance in your businesses, your non-profits, your programs and your decision making will endlessly benefit your organization. Give us a chance to inspire you, and give us a chance to change your minds”. – Amelia Bowen 

Plan International USA staff, YUGA members and advisors from Rhode Island, and one Youth Advisory Board member attended the event and accepted the award on behalf of the network. Amelia Bowen, a past YUGA Leadership Summit participant, gave a speech about the impact YUGA and Plan International USA has had on youth and local communities. In addition, we presented a short video from the perspective of current and past YUGA members to illustrate the impact YUGA has had on their lives. Check out the video below!

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“We have become invested in mobilizing the efforts of the rest of our generation in order to be the change we hope to see.” -Amelia Bowen

We want to thank and congratulate the entire YUGA network for your continued hard work and commitment to Plan International USA’s mission and campaigns. This award belongs to all of you.