YAPSA Stories 1: Reflections on the journey

by Daniel Alexander

Autumn has always been a long awaited season for Amizade. It begins with cooling temperatures, falling leaves, and culminates with the arrival of the Youth Ambassadors from South America. The Youth Ambassadors Program had its official kickoff last month, with the arrival of its newest class!!

For the third year in a row, we welcomed high school students and adult mentors to the U.S. for YAPSA, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by Amizade. This year, after beating a competitive process, 19 ambassadors and two adult mentors from all over Peru landed in North America to begin an exciting new journey. On their itinerary they found activities centered around team-building, in the mountains of West Virginia, workshops with local leaders in Wilkinsburg, PA, and lessons in sustainability on a farm in Quiet Creek, PA.

In the first part of this blog series, we are going to introduce you to some of the youth ambassadors, and provide you with the opportunity to read about their experiences as they journey through different landscapes and meet with people who will uniquely impact their lives. More stories can be found on Amizade’s Instagram account.

Anthony Salazar

“In this trip, I could realize that more important than taking photos all the time; it is to enjoy the opportunity of being here. A photo just will make a pause of anytime, but your mind will make that time live it once more.”

Steven Garcia

“Hi everybody. I want to share my experience with you. In Morgantown, I learned that a leader it’s not a perfect person. You can fail or do something wrong, but after all, you will improve yourself with this experience. Also, you’ll need to overcome your fears to go as far as you can, and with the support of your friends you’ll beat them.”

Cinthya Pinchi

“Movies can teach you something about the reality in other countries such as stereotypes of a typical American school. However, they don’t show us how amazing is to meet new people and how incredible they are. Making friends is the way you can build bridges between cultures.”

Leesa Regalado

“Today, we learned that we don’t have to be the richest person to create and develop big changes in our community. We just need to be perseverant and we need to try and try even when people do not trust in us. However, we learned that to be happy you just need to enjoy the little good moments that the life give you.”

Ana Matamoros

“Today we met a wonderful woman who really cares about her community and wants to everyone feel comfortable living there. I admire her way to see the world and the activities she has been doing in order to make people hear her ideas and also make them feel listened. When I grew up, I would like to do things she does to help people in my community. “

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series featuring the rest of their journey in Pittsburgh and their time serving and learning with our partners in Washington D.C.!!!