We want to present you Maricha Martínez Sosa a graphic designer, photographer and teacher from the Dominican Republic who has just finished a Professional Fellowship here at Youthlinc.
She came to us under the coordination of Utah’s Council for Citizen Diplomacy because she was chosen among almost 4,000 applications from 36 different countries to be part of the first generation of President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), a program launched by to build linkages between the “doers and makers” across the hemisphere while accelerating the success of their commercial and social ventures. 
Maricha is currently developing her PhD research in Communications and Cultural Industries, she owns the website and this year launched, a digital platform created to share touristic experiences from a cultural perspective. 
When asked about her projects and what brought her here, she says:  
“I’m on a journey to discover ways to revalue the cultural and touristic patrimony and to increase the self-esteem of syncretic cultures found in countries like mine, located in Latin America and the Caribbean. My goal is to mix highly innovative technologies with educational activities to help eradicate culture as a tool for discrimination and social division and to turn it into an empowering key component of the sustainable development of our communities.”
Maricha’s Professional Fellowship here at Youthlinc lasted 4 weeks, in that time she helped us develop new strategies for our communication and gave us creative ideas to strengthen our digital identity and the relationship with our community. According to her, the best part was that it gave her a pretty good insight about the culture in Utah, especially concerning social organizations like ours. It also helped her better understand the process of recruiting/managing volunteers and allowed her to experience the daily life of Salt Lake City while making new friends and contacts. 
A funny thing is that after visiting some of Utah’s natural & touristic destinations she calls herself “Utah’s #1 fan” and confessed that it not only surprised her how astonishing beautiful our landscapes are, but she already included many of them in her “places to go back to” list. 
At Youthlinc we are happy to be part of the experience of welcoming her to our country and to continue to learn how much can diversity enrich our lives and societies. Are you ready to be part of an international experience? Get involved in our volunteer programs to meet great people like Maricha! (We bet you won’t regret it!)