ALEXANDRIA, Va. – To help ensure that its work is aligned with the primary needs and concerns of the nation’s young people, America's Promise Alliance (the Alliance) today announced its 2007 Youth Partnership Team (YPT) roster. This select group of diverse young leaders from around the country provides important insight and guidance on issues affecting them and their peers.
First formed in 2001, the 2007 YPT ranges in age from 15 to 23 and represents various ethnicities, economic backgrounds and educational levels. YPT members’ responsibilities include providing ideas, opinions and strategies to the Alliance staff, board of directors and partners that further the Alliance’s mission of improving the well-being of the nation’s children. YPT members also hold leadership positions and membership in several of the Alliance’s 130 partner organizations.
In the past, the team also organized and oversaw the Alliance’s Five Promises Ambassadors Network, an Internet-based discussion forum where young people across the nation can discover and discuss ideas regarding service and leadership grounded in the Five Promises – those essential wrap-around supports all children need to experience to succeed: caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others.
“The perspective offered by our YPT members are invaluable,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO of America's Promise Alliance. “It is a team of highly talented youth who not only serve as role models for their peers, but they spread the word about all the Alliance does in their role as our awareness ambassadors.”
Another key role the YPT will play, said Kondracke, is helping to implement the Alliance’s new 15 in 5 campaign which aims to improve the lives of 15 million of the nation’s most disadvantaged young people so that they are prepared to complete high school and succeed in college or the workforce. Each member has been challenged to develop tactics to engage young people in the three national action strategies that include increasing access to health care and insurance, encouraging middle-school student civic and vocational engagement and using places where children and families congregate as hubs for the delivery of comprehensive resources.
The 2007-2008 YPT team set three major goals to encourage greater interest among youth leaders in the Alliance’s work. They include:
1. Communication: The YPT plans to create a monthly newsletter covering national youth-related news and information that highlights various activities offered by Alliance partners. This tool will be available to any young person interested in service, leadership and the Alliance.
2. Technology: Members will create strategies on how the Alliance can use Facebook, MySpace and YouTube to better educate other young people about its work, exchange ideas and facilitate action in regard to the Five Promises and volunteerism.
3. Networking: YPT members will examine ways that the Alliance can engage other members of national youth boards and advisory councils in its work. They will provide suggestions on how the Alliance can use this network to obtain feedback and suggestions from other youth leaders to help strengthen the YPT’s future activities and projects.
The 2007-2008 slate of YPT members:
- Katelyn Baird, a native of Palataka, Fla., is an 18-year-old rising freshman at the University of Central Florida. She aspires to major in international law and engineering in the fall. One of 30 students selected for the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, Katelyn and other board members helped State Farm design and implement a $5 million-a-year signature service learning initiative to address issues important to State Farm and communities across the United States and Canada such as strengthening education. In addition, Katelyn was a JROTC executive officer in high school and an active member of Key Club International, National Honor Society, the student council and Future Business Leaders of America.
- Rui Bao, a Chesterfield, Mo. native, is a 17-year-old rising freshman at Yale University. Rui is an active member of Junior Achievement’s (JA) Company Program and often speaks at JA functions on behalf of the students in the program. In addition to being a member of the YPT, she is an Alliance Board of Trustees member. While in high school, Rui was vice president of the student council, a representative in the Citywide Student Government, and was also honored as a 2007 Coca Cola Scholar.
- Pierre Batton, a native of Long Beach, Calif., is a 20-year-old theater arts senior at California State University, Long Beach. He is currently a youth co-chair of the Long Beach Commission
on Youth and Children. Pierre represented Long Beach in the 2005 National League of Cities San Jose Youth Conference, helped facilitate the youth track of the 2004 League of California Cities Annual Convention and helped moderate the first-ever Long Beach Mayoral Candidates Forum. Pierre also assisted Long Beach in submitting its winning application for the 100 Best Communities for Young People competition and helped to plan the Alliance’s 2006 Regional Forum in Long Beach.
- Alyssa Bisanz, a Mesa, Ariz. native, is a 17-year-old rising freshman majoring in political science at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. Alyssa, founder of STARS (Students Taking Action & Responsibility through Service), an organization mobilizing students to make a difference through community service, has been recognized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute as a Young Leader of Today and has received the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award. She is a Coca Cola Regional Scholar and while in high school, was a member of the Governor’s Youth Commission, the National Honor Society, Tennis Club, a peer trainer for A World of Difference and a frequent volunteer at the zoo.
- Paula Chrin, a native of Pottstown, Pa., is a 20-year-old senior, pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in public communication and political science at American University. For the last seven years, Paula has dedicated the vast majority of her time to Kiwanis International—through Key Club International in high school, and presently Circle K International. Her Kiwanis involvement consists of planning grassroots service projects and chartering local chapters. Paula serves as a Circle K International Board of Trustees member, overseeing internal and external marketing for the organization while personally working with over 75 chapters in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and the Rocky Mountains.
- RoAnne de Weerd, a Meridian, ID native, is a 17-year-old high school senior. RoAnne serves as chair of Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. She recently organized an event to support Habitat for Humanity which raised nearly $130,000. In addition to being the chair of the Treasure Valley Youth Partnership and co-chair of Meridian’s Promise, RoAnne is also a member of several organizations including Key Club, Leadership Boise Academy, Amnesty International and Meridian’s Anti-Drug Coalition. RoAnne also helped her city complete its winning application for 100 Best Communities for Young People.
- Daniella Eguiguren, a native of Burke, Va., is a 16-year-old high school junior. Daniella is the current vice president of her high school’s National Honor Society where she is responsible for organizing activities that keep teens positively involved in the community. In addition, she serves as a representative to the College Partnership Program’s Student Leadership Council where she encourages fellow minority students to pursue higher education. Daniella is involved in Pohick Library’s Teen Advisory Board and Key Club and has served, in the past, as a counselor for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital’s Camp Primavera.
- Jeff Hayward, a Pierre, S.D. native, is a 23-year-old senior political science major, speech communication minor, at Northern State University. Jeff, an Eagle Scout, is currently an associate advisor and committee member for his local council of Boy Scouts of America. He served as chair of the South Dakota Voices for Children Youth Advisory Council during its inaugural year, and worked closely with the South Dakota Juvenile Justice Guidebook program. Jeff has served on several national committees including Scoutreach, which provides character-building programs for youth in rural and urban areas. Jeff is one of three young people serving on the Alliance’s Board of Trustees and is working closely with the Alliance on its work to increase high school graduation rates nationwide.
- Niharika Jain, a native of Shreveport, La., is a 16-year-old high school senior. Niha works to raise awareness about domestic violence by helping victims through the YWCA Youth Board, an organization she founded to unite high school girls in service and leadership. Niha is the president of her school’s National Honor Society, through which she started a program for high school students to volunteer with the elderly at local retirement homes. As president of her school Science Olympiad Team and a student researcher in a biomedical laboratory, Niha pursues her love for science. She is also a member of her school’s decathlon team, Red Cross Club and Zonta Club.
- Andee Johnson, a Brentwood, Tenn. native, is a 15-year-old high school junior. Andee is an active volunteer in Davidson County, providing hundreds of hours of her free time annually. She founded More Store to benefit the youth of Martha O’Bryan, and also Senior Citizen Christmas to aid the elderly at the James Cayce Homes in Nashville. Presently, Andee chairs More Than a Toy, an organization she founded to respond to the needs of the homeless community in Nashville. As a result of her community service efforts, she has received several
awards including the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the Mary Catherine Strobel
Award and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
- Daniel Kent, a native of Carmel, Ind., is an 18-year-old rising freshman at Haverford College. At age 14, Daniel used $4,000 he saved to purchase a car to found Net Literacy, a youth empowered 501(c)(3) organization that promotes computer access, computer training and Internet safety education to the underserved. He has served on several youth advisory boards, including Do Something Inc. and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and was president of his school’s National Honor Society where he initiated and led a student initiative that instituted an Honor Code at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. This year Daniel is the TechPoint Foundation Bridge Builder Award Honoree, and was named the 2006 “Citizen of the Year” by several local Gannett newspapers, among other awards/recognitions.
- Latasha Kinnard, a Chicago native, is a 19-year-old double psychology and education major at Washington University in St. Louis. Actively involved on campus, she is a member of Harambee Christian Ministries; Lock and Chain Sophomore Honorary, the oldest honorary on campus; and is the history chair of the Association of Black Students. An alumna of the Collegiate Scholars Program, an academic program based at the University of Chicago, Latasha is a graduate of Morgan Park High School where she earned an International Baccalaureate diploma.
- Kenya Lee, a native of New York City, is an 18-year-old sophomore aspiring to major in public policy at Hamilton College. An active member of the Hamilton community, Kenya volunteers her time teaching English to newly arrived refugees and immigrants with Project Shine in Utica, N.Y. and is an active member of the Black Student Union. During spring break, instead of the traditional vacation, she volunteered her time to help clean and rebuilt homes and other facilities in the areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Kenya is an alumna of the Manhattan Center for Mathematics and Science, graduating as a Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Scholar.
- Glenn Means, a Mt. Sterling, Ky. native, is an 18-year-old rising freshman aspiring to double major in pre-medicine and journalism at Transylvania University. Glenn volunteers for Kentucky Youth Advocates and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, and is a youth trainer for Kentucky Child Now!, among other activities. In high school, he was active in a variety of clubs including the student council, Key Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society and the music honor society. Glenn has been inducted into the National Honor Roll, United States Achievement Academy, the National Society of High School Scholars, and was recently named a 2007 Coca Cola Scholar.
- Megan Millard, a native of Greer, S.C., is a 17-year-old rising freshman and member of the Ingram Scholars program at Vanderbilt University. Serving her third year as a YPT member, Megan is also an Alliance Board of Trustees member, in addition to serving as a board member for the Youth Service America National Youth Council. While in high school, she initiated and organized her school’s first participation in National Youth Service Day, which has since become an annual event. Megan served on her school’s honor council and was also a board member for the United Way of Marshall County and member of the inaugural State Farm Southern Zone Youth Advisory Board. She is a National Merit Scholar, USA Today All-Academic Honorable Mention and an AXA Achievement Scholar.
- Shipra Roy, a Rochester, Minn. native, is a 17-year-old rising freshman pursuing a dual major in biomedical engineering and political science in the Institute of Technology Honors Program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Shipra is an active volunteer for the SEMCIL (Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living) which works to improve the lives of disabled community members, and has participated in research at the Mayo Clinic and Boston University Medical School’s Cancer Research Center. While in high school, Shipra was the president of the National Honor Society and an IBM WIT (Women in Technology) Program delegate. Her awards include the Harvard Book Award and the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement in Writing Award, among others.
- Ali Zaidi, a native of Edinboro, Pa., is an 18-year-old senior government major at Harvard University. Currently, the president of the Harvard Islamic Society and a Harvard College Peer Advising Fellow, Ali teaches and mentors through various civic education programs aimed at Boston area youth, including the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment Program and SABES (Spanish Acquisition Beginning in Elementary School). An active member of the South Asian Association, he is also the former board member of the Society of Arab Students and vice president of the Harvard Health Policy Society. Ali serves on the steering committee of Erie's Promise and volunteers at the Shiners Hospital for Children.
AMERICA’S PROMISE ALLIANCE
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources – the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises – caring adults; safe place; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others—at home, in school and in the community.
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