WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of September's National Child Awareness Month, YSA (Youth Service America) and Festival of Children Foundation will engage 51 outstanding teens and young adults from across the nation to serve as Youth Ambassadors, leading high-visibility campaigns to create positive change in the lives of other young people.
The Youth Ambassadors will begin their term of service in September, when they will travel to Washington, D.C., for a leadership training summit and begin planning their campaigns. The Youth Ambassadors will be introduced to government officials, nonprofit leaders and media on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at a celebratory event at the Senate Visitors Center.
The Youth Ambassadors represent a diversity of causes, backgrounds and issue areas, including:
- Javonti Thomas, age 16, of Winnfield, Louisiana, will lead a campaign to raise awareness about child abuse, with the ultimate goal of preventing, reporting and reducing child abuse across the state.
- Raygan Sylvester, age 16, of Little Rock, Arkansas, will lead a campaign to increase child and teen seatbelt usage in Arkansas, which is ranked 46th in the nation in seatbelt use and has one of the highest percentages of teen fatalities in vehicle accidents. Since her brother was injured in a car crash, Raygan has already begun her work to raise awareness and will extend the reach of her campaign as a Youth Ambassador. http://www.raygansylvester.webs.com/
- Darion Parker, age 19, from Washington, D.C. As a Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellow, Darion has witnessed the consequences of economic and educational inequities. Through his service project, he will use multimedia and social media to give youth voice to these problems and create pieces that inspire disadvantaged youth to persevere.
Thirty-seven of the 51 Youth Ambassadors have been selected and represent: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. To view the current Youth Ambassadors and their projects, visit http://www.ysa.org/category/grant-programs/festival-children.
Following the September training in Washington, D.C., the Youth Ambassadors will return to their home states to execute their campaigns over the course of several months. All Youth Ambassadors will lead a campaign event or service project on April 26, 27 or 28, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Global Youth Service Day, the largest and longest-running service event in the world.
The Youth Ambassadors will receive a national-level platform for their cause or issue area, with support from YSA, a leader in the youth service movement. In addition, each Youth Ambassador receives: a $1,000 grant to develop a campaign in his or her home state; ongoing training, project and technical assistance support; and networking opportunities with other Youth Ambassadors across the country.
Now in its fifth year, National Child Awareness Month is an initiative spearheaded by Festival of Children Foundation to raise awareness about issues affecting children and encourage the nation's youth to take action. The month has received official designation through Senate Resolution 522, co-sponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
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SOURCE Youth Service America