We believe ALL young people have the power to change the world.
OUR MISSION: We inspire and empower the next generation with the opportunity, tools and voice to make an impact on the world.
In a Perfect World Youth Ambassadors are young people passionate about social change. Our YAMs (as we affectionately call them) are learning about global issues and making a difference in their communities from coast to coast. They work in a broad range of areas that include health, environment, poverty, gender, the arts and education.
A generation of change-makers.
12-18 years old, our YAMs move through a 2-year curriculum designed to teach them about pressing global issues. They are then encouraged, equipped and empowered to act on what they are passionate about.
YAMs participate in youth-led, youth-driven service by designing and leading their own change-making projects with partner organizations in their communities.
Making an impact, coast to coast.
2019 highlights include:
* providing backpacks + school supplies to high-poverty classrooms
* community clean-up projects in underserved neighborhoods
* school beautification projects
* providing hygiene & care packages for families experiencing homelessness
* hosting birthday parties for children in foster care
* participating in beach clean-ups
* organizing clothing and shoe drives for families in domestic violence shelters
* fundraising to support sick children
They also traveled to Guatemala to complete a school and install a playground for an indigenous community.
In 2019, the YAMs were invited to participate in Design for Change’s world-wide changemaker challenge. Founded in 2009 by world-renowned educator and design thinker Kiran Bir Sethi who partnered with Stanford Design School and IDEO, Design for Change equips young people to transform empathy into action using 4 steps: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share.
An innovative experience.
By participating in Design for Change, our YAMs joined a coalition of young people creating social change around the world by designing solutions to address the UN Global Goals.
Our YAMs chose to focus on UN Global Goal #3, Good Health and Well-Being. They then brainstormed, planned and executed a community change project called #TranquilTeens.
The Tranquil Teens Project focused on helping teens cope with stress and anxiety related to school, work, family, and social pressures.
IAPW Youth Ambassadors were chosen out of 300+ submissions to represent the USA at the annual global conference I CAN Global Children’s Summit in Rome, Italy (Nov 27-30, 2019).
As an Ambassador Team, they will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to share their project on a global stage, meet 4,000 young people from around the world, and have a live audience with Pope Francis!
Throughout the conference, our YAMs will engage in formal learning development sessions and will learn directly from students across the world as each country ambassador team shares their work, their action and their changemaking. They will also share their story of change on a global stage in front of students, educators and influencers from around the world.
● Build leadership capacities: YAMs will be asked to lead cultural exchange activities and they will be asked to codify their changemaking to share on a global stage. This experience builds critical thinking and reflective muscles while also underscoring self-efficacy and confidence. Concretely, as well, students practice their presentation and public-speaking skills.
● Engage in collaboration and build teamwork skills: Throughout the conference, students will be engaging alongside teams from around the world to think critically about global issues.
● Connection to and increased awareness and agency around the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Students will learn more about work that is being done around the world with regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals .
Benefits beyond measure.
Research shows that travel has specific benefits to social-emotional learning, skill acquisition and development. Such as:
● Increased self-awareness: Students have the chance to engage in a variety of travel-specific and international experiences that require reflection on their own strengths and opportunities for growth which further promotes a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
● Increased self-management: Given the reality of travel complications and new, diverse experiences, this opportunity requires that students consider methods to effectively manage stress.
● Increased social awareness: Through the travel experience and in the international context, students must gain, acknowledge and incorporate the perspectives of others – both those they are traveling alongside and those they meet through their travels – and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
● Exercised decision-making: The BTC travel experience requires students make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.
*All are components of the Core Social-Emotional Competencies.
International travel + exposure to different cultures provides necessary intellectual scaffolding for our youth to navigate the inherent complexities in today’s global community. The Be the Change conference is threaded with numerous opportunities to engage with students from around the world from over 65 countries from different cultural backgrounds, speaking different languages.
Benefits of cross-cultural exchange include:
● increased self-awareness and identity development: Students will have opportunities to develop positive social identities as they share about their home culture and learn across lines of different cultures.
Additionally, students will reflect their recognition that peoples’ multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals.*
*Aligned to Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework .
● Refine and adapt relationship and social skills:
Through the above mentioned experiences, students will further develop their ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
Help them Be the Change!
As participants of the I CAN Children’s Global Summit, our YAMs are not simply attending an event, but are acting as stewards of change. Help them get to Rome for this amazing experience!