Before January 12, Charlèus Louristan, Widny Laurent, and Modline Occy were working toward a brighter future by studying carrelage (laying paving stones) as participants in EDC’s Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Project (IDEJEN).
Then the earthquake struck Haiti, changing their worlds forever. Despite what they endured that day, Louristan, Laurent, and Occy remained connected to IDEJEN, which turned from creating education programs and helping impoverished youth develop work skills to responding to the urgent needs of the community.
In the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake EDC’s Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Project (IDEJEN) is helping youths rebuild their futures.
Widny Laurent, 18, is sleeping with neighbors under a makeshift tent at Place Boyer in Pétionville, Port-au-Prince. And he has been since January 12 when the earth—and his life—underwent a shocking upheaval.
A member of the Hopi Nation, Stephanie Autumn directs EDC’s Tribal Youth Program, which seeks to prevent delinquency and improve juvenile justice systems for American Indian and Alaska Native youth. She and a colleague recently traveled to the Red Cliff Reservation in Wisconsin, home of the Red Cliff band of the Ojibwe tribe, for a site visit.
During a visit facilitated by EDC’s Ruwwad Youth Empowerment Program, a student delegation from American University in Washington D.C. traveled to the city of Ramallah, meeting with Palestinian young people for a day of community service.
In the poverty-stricken West Bank, Palestinian university students have raised more than $43,000 toward developing children’s cancer treatment facilities. Called Smile of Hope, this fundraising initiative is sponsored by Ruwwad, an EDC program that trained the youths in leadership skills.
EDC in collaboration with partners in education, youth media and business, is creating a youth-produced, Web-based media series and companion educator materials on science and engineering careers, targeting girls from underserved groups (minority populations, youth of low socioeconomic status and those with disabilities). The Girls Communicating Career Connections (GC3) project’s media series—short video segments produced by middle school aged girls—will capture the inquiry-based learning experiences of girls, as they investigate what it means to be a scientist or engineer.
“If anyone can bridge the gaps between Americans and Palestinians, it’s us: youth leaders.” These words, delivered by Ruwwad Youth Ambassador Suad Soboh in Boston, were a strong, fitting conclusion to a momentous trip for six Ruwwad youth.
Attacks on civilians, torture, the use of child soldiers or biological weapons—all are prohibited in war. But not everyone is familiar with the international humanitarian laws that govern armed conflict. To introduce students to the concepts and content of these rules, EDC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) developed the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) program.
From dropout to vagrant to teen mother, 19-year-old Manoucheka Lizaire’s life quickly unraveled as she followed a path familiar to girls living in poverty. In Haiti alone, thousands of teens are like Manoucheka—out of school and living on the streets, in domestic servitude, or with families too poor to provide them with an education.
A lush mangrove forest with its wealth of tropical plants, animals, and sea organisms, one of the most biodiverse wetland habitats on the planet, thrives just off the coast of Colombia. For children in a local neighborhood, the mangroves are a gateway to discovering ecology—and computer software.
EDC and Jusoor Arabiya, a leadership and consultancy center in Kuwait, presents a panel called Youth Leadership in the Arab World Post 9/11 at the 18th Annual National Service-Learning Conference, organized by The National Youth Leadership Council and the International Association for National Youth Service. It will draw 2,900 students, educators, policy-makers, and representatives from community-based organizations.
Watch young people at home today, and you’re likely to see them managing technology with an ease that can inspire awe and envy. They text and they IM; they Google and they design their own Web pages; they download music and burn CDs—all in service of their friendships, romances, interests, and hobbies. But watch young people at school, and you’re more likely to find them seated at desks, listening to lectures, reading from textbooks, and penciling in little oval bubbles on standardized tests.
When describing the training program he has designed to prepare people to work as mentors for youth in the juvenile justice system, Joe Ippolito uses some expected terms, like support and nurture. But he is just as likely to lead with terms like challenge and agitate.
When Trevor Dudley saw that the architectural plans for a new school in Kampala, Uganda, had no athletic field or recreational facilities, he decided to intervene. Bucking the prevailing opinion that sports were a distraction that had no place in the world of learning; Dudley set out to show the positive impact athletics could have on children and communities. A native of England, Dudley has lived in Africa for 25 years, 18 of them in Uganda, working as a construction consultant.
For years, Palestinian youth
living in the West Bank and
Gaza have seldom been
perceived as an important
resource for building their
nation’s future. The Palestinian
Youth Empowerment Program,
or RUWWAD, is hoping to
change that perception.
EQUIP3/Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Initiative, or IDEJEN as the project is known locally, operates twelve youth centers. Each center provides 50 students between the ages of 15-20 with an education in basic reading, writing, and mathematics. Students also receive lessons in health, nutrition, conflict-resolution, and other life-skills. In addition, they learn a marketable trade such as sewing, woodworking, auto mechanics, handcrafts, hotel services, or agricultural businesses.
For EDC Senior Vice President Vivian Guilfoy, who has spent more than a decade working in the fields of community technology and youth development, one of the signs of progress is a blurring of boundaries. “The days of distinction between formal and informal education have come to an end,” says Guilfoy, director of EDC’s Center for Education, Employment, and Community (CEEC).