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Technology & Innovation

Youth Leadership Now

Our world needs youth leaders in our communities now from ages 14-25. We need to harness their energy and ideas, give the tools effective leadership and then let them lead! Our leaders in the US congress, corporations, and non-profits need term limits to ensure that the torches of leadership pass smoothly. This will allow our elders to Think Big about new projects as the pass existing programs onto others.

No Time to Waste

What Global Youth Leadership Did for Me







“What do you want to be when you grow

up?” This is a question we all ask ourselves. It

doesn’t matter if you are young or old, white

or black, rich or poor; we all hope to be somebody

great in the future. What Global Youth

Leadership Institute

forces people to ask

is, “What do you

want to be today?”

Our lives are short,

and our contributions

are necessary.

There is no time to

waste.

I applied to Global

Youth Leadership

during my sophomore year at Detroit Country

Day School. By simply agreeing to take a

seven day trip to New Mexico, I would have

never imagined the impact it would have on

my life. While on the Reservation I learned to

love, respect, and befriend people who are in

many ways diff erent than me, but in more the

same. I was taken out of one of the most segregated

cities in America to an environment

where my color, culture, context, character,

and class were not only accepted, but appreciated.

This made me realize the possibilities

for humanity. It only took one person to reach

out to me so that I could understand that we

are all in this crazy world together.

The memories I have had with GYLI are limitless,

but one always stands out in my mind

that symbolizes my experience. During the

third year in Costa Rica, we went white water

rafting. I am terrifi ed of the water so it was diffi

cult to even make myself get out there, but

once we began I got the hang of rafting and

was having a lot of fun. Suddenly, the workers

asked us to stop and instructed us all to get

off onto the side of the river. We climbed up

this hill to fi nd a twenty-foot cliff on the other

side. “¡Salta!” ( jump in Spanish) the man said.

Of course those who could swim immediately

jumped off the cliff without hesitation, but

me, there was no way I was going to do it. My

friend Kristen was explaining to me that my life

jacket would bring me up and assured me that

I wasn’t going to die. So I took her hand, and

jumped. I splashed in the water and began to

rise, but for some reason I was nowhere near

everybody else. I eyed Kristen and calmly said,

“Somebody needs to help me. Somebody

needs to help me.” It is funny now, but then I

was terrifi ed. A worker immediately came and

helped me fl oat ashore, and I was fi nally safe.

So, if somebody asked me to jump off a cliff ,

would I do it? Only with GYLI.

That was the level of trust we all developed

during these short moments of time

together.


Not only did my participation

in GYLI change me, but it also

encouraged me to impact my

community. I have used the

tools from this institute to share

something that is not heard

enough among my peers back

at home: the significance of

challenging oneself in a diverse

environment. I took advantage

of all that GYLI had to off er, but

most importantly I learned one

of life’s greatest lessons. The

most significant contribution

anyone can give is positively

aff ecting the lives of others no

matter how great or small, and

‘aff ect’ means to change a part

of a problem.

In my case it has been one that

lingers from generation to generation

in the metro Detroit

area, the drastic social and

academic diff erence between

inner-city and suburban students.

During the summer of

my senior year a friend and I

designed a program entitled

Leadership in the Face of Diversity,

Adversity, and Necessity. I

planned to work with YES for

PREP, an organization designed

to assist the transition of innercity

students into prominent

and highly acclaimed high

schools in the metro Detroit

area. Through this organization

I was able to implement our sixweek

curriculum to a group of

young eighth graders from

schools in the city. The vision

statement was “ to empower

our community’s youth by helping

them develop confi dence

and realize their potentials.”

Through a medium of topic

discussions, games, leadership

exercises, and projects, I challenged

the students’ perceptions

of what it means to be a

leader in three contexts. I fi rst

addressed Leadership in the

Face of Diversity. Under this category

the stereotypes we hold

as Americans were brought into

question. We began to understand

how they aff ect our ability

to be successful leaders. Leadership

in the Face of Adversity

consisted of examining confl ictresolution

skills that are eff ective

in overcoming obstacles.

Lastly, Leadership in the Face

of Necessity encouraged the

young people to look at the

issues of the world today, and

begin to think about where

we will be in twenty years.

Many of them became adamant

about domestic and

international issues. They

discovered that it is our

generation’s time to act and

become serious about positively

infl uencing our world.

Benito Mussolini, even

though a fascist dictator,

made a great point about

how inspiration ignites leadership

and change, “If only we

can give them faith that mountains

can be moved, they will

accept the illusion that mountains

are moveable, and thus an

illusion may become reality.”

Giving this kind of inspiration

and influence are things that

make the diff erences in the lives

of many. So that is exactly what

I did: inspired and gave with

hopes of touching one group of

kids who will touch others and

spark a progressive change in

their communities, and eventually

around the entire globe.

I am now a freshman in James

Madison College at Michigan

State University studying

International Relations. There

are many things that have led

me to pursuing this career, but

quite honestly my experiences

traveling and being a part of

Global Youth Leadership Institute

convinced me the most

that this is the field I want to

be in. What GYLI did for me is

what I attempted to do for that

young group of students.

That is to impart wisdom and

experience, so that they would

have the tools and the confidence

necessary to take the

initiative in solving problems

big and small. Our lives are

short, and our contributions

are necessary. There is no time

to waste.


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