Ridgewood Welcomes Young Men and Women from Haiti!

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2012

By Peter Kurshan, President, Ridgewood YMCA Board of Directors:

On August 7, the Ridgewood Y will welcome 20 teens from Haiti. These young men and women will be traveling to the United States as part of the Youth Ambassador Program, a U.S. State Department sponsored initiative designed to provide overseas students with an opportunity to experience the United States first-hand. Our special visitors will be able to broaden their understanding of U.S. culture, education, and society. The Ridgewood Y intends to welcome our visitors and proudly show off our community.

Over the course of three weeks, the young men and women, all students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities and an interest in improving their local communities in Haiti, will visit Ridgewood, New York City and Washington D.C. During their trip. they will meet with their U.S. peers, live with host families, and take part in activities focused around civic education, community service, and youth leadership development.

The Ridgewood Y’s participation in this initiative is through its World Service Program, chaired by Tom Wells, which works closely with partner Ys in other countries to help develop programs that empower young people and adults with the knowledge, life skills, values, and resources to reach their full potential. It helps them create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. In this regard, we, as part of the Ridgewood community, have so much to be thankful for and, conversely, so much to share.

This summer, in addition to hosting youth ambassadors, the Ridgewood Y World Service Program worked with the YMCA d’Haiti to build a new local community center, and continued its annual sponsorship of a Youth Soccer Camp there, orchestrated by head coach Jim Delia, as it has done since 2004.

In July, the Ridgewood Y sent 11 New Jersey teens to the Dominican Republic, where they completed vital community service projects, and throughout its tenure, the program has provided critical support to YMCAs in Senegal and Kenya.

The World Service Program is one of the Ridgewood Y’s Good Works Programs which strive to provide programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The World Service Program, as with other Good Works Programs from the Ridgewood Y, relies on the generous support of donors, without whom its important work could not continue. Please support the Ridgewood Y and welcome our visitors from Haiti.

To help the Ridgewood Y help others, consider a donation. Visit www.ridgewoodymca.org/give or call Jen Batelli at 201.444.5600, ext 320.