That’s Grace and Nicole. Two teenagers enjoying an outing together. Except that Grace is from Nicaragua, and Nicole is from Wisconsin. The two met through the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas Youth Ambassadors Program.
“The Youth Ambassadors program, begun in 2002, brings outstanding public high school students from across Latin America to the United States for a two-week exchange visit. During their stays, these youth experience US history and culture in Washington DC, live with U.S. families across the country, attend schools and cultural activities, and interact with U.S. youth. The experience expands knowledge and understanding among youth to promote increased mutual understanding among peoples of the Americas.”
The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners Chapter is trying to continue the program by getting a permanent spot on the globalgiving website. They’ve almost reached their goal, but are looking for small donations–$10 to help a Youth to attend Project Activities, $25 to allow future youth leaders to attend a Regional Conference for Partners, or $100 to help sponsor a Nicaraguan Peer Trainer, but the challenge ends at Midnight tomorrow.
In confirming the value and power of international exchanges for teenagers, Nicole, a high school student in Evansville, WI says “lack of understanding is a source of tension in our society. People fail to understand others because of fear, self-centeredness, and failure to appreciate differences & acknowledge similarities.”