Throughout 2021 we still found ourselves amid a global pandemic and like many others we had to make adjustments throughout the year as we continued to propel our mission forward to create lifetime humanitarians. Youthlinc worked very closely with our International and community partners, and government
entities to select Youthlinc sites that were open for fully vaccinated tourists, minimal community spread, and communities that were ready to welcome our volunteers back. In April 2021, we had to postpone some of our Service Year trips but thanks to the flexibility and dedication of our participants and international partners we successfully sent 7 teams to 4 different International destinations.
- Total 2021 participants: 215
- Humanitarians: 127
- Alum Leaders: 28
- Mentors: 44
- Leadership: 16
In response to COVID 19, this past summer we started a new partnership with the Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation who strives to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable populations in Costa Rica. We were able to send two teams to work with the foundation in two areas of Costa Rica, the first team traveled and worked on the Bribri indigenous reserve. Where they supported the community in building a sacred women’s center, provided sewing lessons for the women, and supported a local entrepreneur dedicated to supporting and improving her community and family by expanding her business. Our second team stayed in the urban district La Carpio that where they assisted in renovations at the CR Humanitarian Foundation Community center for Nicaraguan refugees. They held daily health seminars for the youth, adults, and elders. Taught the younger single mothers how to sew. And hosted a daily English camp for the young primary students.
We have been working with the St. Thomas Renaissance Foundation, since April 2019 to open a new Youthlinc international site. Due to COVID it took us until this past summer to get our first team on the ground. Our team had tremendous support from our STRF, the local police department, the Ministry of Health, and several members of Parliament. The Foundation’s mission is to help stimulate economic development in the Parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica through a set of initiatives. Part of the initiative of STRF has been to restore and preserve historical sites that have historical importance in their rich heritage and the abolishment of slavery in Jamaica. By restoring and preserving these historical sites we not only save and honor important moments in time but we also support a community through local tourism opportunities. With the generous support and grant received from the David Kelby Johnson Memorial Foundation our team to work with the community and local youth to restore multiple historic sites outside Hayfield. While the team was there, they were accompanied by local news and members of parliament and through the help of news and social media, the community was able to book out all available tours for the summer and are looking forward to expanding operations in 2022.
This was the first team to work in our new site in Nakuru, Kenya. We are still seeing the effects of COVID and what it means now, to define a community but the presence of our team and projects at the Muriundu Primary school helped to heal some wounds from the ongoing pandemic by safely bringing the community back together. Our team and Nakuru community were moved by the energy and new life these projects brought with them. One of the major successes this year, and most impactful moment of the trip was the partnership and facilitation by Days for Girls in Nakuru. Kenya is one of our sites that has their very own DFG’s enterprises where local women make/sell/donate DFG’s kits and have been trained as educational facilitators to attend schools and community affairs to address women’s health. With the funds, our students raised through BBBS clothing drive and the help of a grant from Walmart the team opted to purchasing DFG’s kits from the Nakuru enterprise and hire one of their facilitators. When there isn’t a local enterprise, we typically train a participant as a DFG ambassador and hold these lessons ourselves. However, adding this direct partnership brought a sense of peer-to-peer education and women empowerment that was powerful, even for our young Humanitarians to witness, and made a lasting imprint.
This year we were able to send 3 teams to Peru. Even throughout COVID Peru has remained one of our strongest sites, they have maintained their sense of community and connection with each other. They were just as eager of Youthlinc to return as we were. We were able to add additional sidewalks and bridges throughout the jungle to allow for safe travels throughout the community and for students to make it to school. Our most successful projects in Peru were the business grants provided after community members attended a business seminar and prepared a business proposal for the team. Another impactful moment for our teams was working with the community to support Ms. San Juan. With the leftover funds from projects collected through their BBBS clothing drive, the teams elected to support a single mother in the community. She had been doing everything she could to support her family on her own when their roof caved in and no longer provided their humble home with any protection. There was no way for her to repair the damage on her own and the community provided as much support as they could, but it still left her and her family exposed and vulnerable. Our participants felt the call to action and wanted to find a solution. It was overwhelming to see the investment from our participants and the entire community to find a way to fix the shelter for Ms. San Juan.
We can happily report that ALL Youthlinc participants tested negative for COVID 19 upon their scheduled return to the United States. This is in no doubt due to the requirement of Vaccination, and the vigilance of all In-Country Coordinators, Vendors, Team Leadership, and all participants to wear their face masks, and when possible, maintain a safe social distance.
We are grateful to our many donors that make our projects and contributions to these communities possible. No matter the size of the donation, large and small, we utilize every penny around the world. We would like to say thank you to the Michel Foundation, one of our longtime donors for contributing $25,000 directly to our construction projects for Costa Rica, Kenya, and Peru. As well as the David Kelby Johnson Memorial Foundation for contributing $9,500 directly towards our projects in Jamaica.
In addition to generous donations, we were able to continue our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah to collect clothing to be repurposed or recycled that would otherwise end up in a landfill, in order to raise funds for our Community Health, Vocational, Business, Education, Cultural Exchange and our new Environmental initiates abroad.
JOIN US IN SUMMER 2022
As we prepare and look forward to 2022, we are hopeful that we can return to each of our international sites safely and under the guidance of each of our partners. Youthlinc and all of our partners are eager to reconnect and support our local and global communities as the world reopens and continues to combat COVID 19. Our 2022 Service year is underway and teams have started meeting, If you are interested in reconnecting this year please head over to the register page to see our available options for summer 2022.