Teens Traveling to Africa as Volunteers and Empowered Global Citizens

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 General News
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United Nations Association of the USA HERO Youth Ambassadors to volunteer in HIV/AIDS-affected communities in Africa

NEW YORK, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- HERO: a Campaign of the United Nations Association of the USA, with partners beinggirl.com and CosmoGIRL!, has announced its 2008 HERO Youth Ambassadors. This July, 22 American and Canadian high school and college students will travel to South Africa and Namibia to volunteer their time working in HERO-supported schools. The HERO Youth Ambassadors, known as YAs, will help to construct housing and fences for local communities, build playgrounds, paint existing school structures and offer hands-on creative and recreational programs to improve the lives of orphan and vulnerable school-aged children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many projects that the YAs will work on are funded in-part by the Protecting Futures program. In partnership with HERO, Protecting Futures is a comprehensive care program created by Tampax and Always dedicated to keeping vulnerable girls in school. While in Africa, the YAs will also visit with local HERO partners, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNESCO, as well as U.S. Ambassadors and local government officials, providing them with first-hand knowledge of the issues and problems faced by these communities.

The 2008 HERO Youth Ambassadors come from 12 states as well as Canada and Germany, and were selected from a rigorous national search sponsored by CosmoGIRL! This marks the third wave of HERO Youth Ambassadors to travel to Africa to carry out humanitarian work on behalf of the United Nations Association. HERO YAs will remain in Africa for one month, dividing their time between Namibia and South Africa. After being selected, each YA is responsible for raising a minimum of $5,000 to cover the expense of his or her trip.

"The HERO Youth Ambassador program offers young people the rare opportunity to become empowered citizens of the world and to understand the difference that they can make both individually and collectively," said Gabrielle Armand, Executive Director, Communications & Marketing for the United Nations Association of the USA. "We hope that by participating in the program, the YAs will embrace their role as global citizens and work in tandem with local African communities to achieve some of the Millennium Development Goals laid out by the United Nations."

A series of webisodes will be filmed throughout the trip to document the Youth Ambassadors' experiences and will premiere this fall, exclusively on beinggirl.com/hero. The purpose of webisodes is to highlight the Youth Ambassadors' service and work in Africa, and to empower other teens to become involved in global service.

"These Youth Ambassadors serve as a great inspiration to not only their peers and local communities, they also inspire change globally and beinggirl.com is proud to be associated with this wonderful initiative." said Michelle Vaeth, Protecting Futures Program Director for P&G.

The selected Youth Ambassadors are:

Ashley Abarr, St. Joseph, MO

Warda Alam, Hollister, CA

Layne Anderson, Overland Park, KS

Phillipe-Pierre Antoine, Cooper City, FL

Corinna Banda, Redwood, CA

Timothy Campbell, Mannheim, Germany

Natasha Clark, Coldstream, BC, Canada

Christina Dawson, California, MD

Carly Dell, Orchard Park, NY

Samantha Druckman, Woodbury, NY

Carly Ettinger, Minneapolis, MN

Taylor Ann Evans, Newton, MA

Christie George, Gurnee, IL

Latoya Lee, Hot Springs, AR

Rosa Lee, Cerritos, CA

Alxy Lovelace, Bentonville, AR

Lauren McAlpin, Nashville, TN

Kelly McCann, Little Neck, NY

Hang Nguyen, Denver, CO

Tulsie Patel, Plant

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