Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Chance in a Lifetime

Youth Hit the Ground in New York

Every August, the United Nations welcomes youth from around the world to celebrate International Youth Day. The day is the culmination of a focus on activities to further the United Nations’ World Programme of Action for Youth.

The day’s events help encourage and empower young people to work with governments, non-governmental agencies, schools, and businesses to make a difference in their world.

This year, three Children International sponsored youth are invited observers at the United Nations program in New York City. Read below as Shelia Mahony, CI program officer for youth and education, accompanies the youth on their special journey.

For most of us, a visit to the United Nations is a once in a lifetime experience. For three girls from different ends of the earth who have fought every day to overcome poverty, the thought was only a dream. Today that dream became a reality when two of the three sponsored youths landed in New York City.

Telma, from Guatemala, was the first girl to land at LaGuardia Airport. Normally, her vista on life is filled with shacks and dirt roads. The smile stretching across this normally shy and quiet teen’s face told us that she knew she wasn’t in Guatemala anymore.

I picked up Leslie, from the Philippines, next. Leslie is the youngest of the three girls and couldn’t hide the excitement of having another chance to travel to the United States even after finishing a 24-hour airplane trip.

The girls are thrilled to have a chance to see each other again. They hugged and shrieked as only teenage girls can do. This is a miracle meeting since they met at last year’s International Youth Conference in Kansas City, and, because of their families' lack of funds, never thought they would meet again.

And now another dream comes true as they are reunited with the third member of their dynamic trio when Vakeyia, from Little Rock, touches down in the Big Apple. We are on our way downstairs for our first whole day together in New York City. We’re going to have a real New York breakfast – bagels and cream cheese!

No comments: