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Inspired to Do More

June 27, 2014
How working with Plan has helped transform the life of a youth leader.

Over the past 15 years, my prospective career path has included everything from teacher to WNBA star to President of the United States.

About 10 years ago, however, Plan International USA came into my life and forever changed the way I thought about myself and the world.

My involvement with Plan began at its first Global Connections Youth Conference when I was 13- years-old and in the eighth grade. It brought together youth from more than 30 countries where Plan works, and encouraged us to interact with our peers from all over the world. This conference was the catalyst that led to my love of experiencing new cultures and my drive to help solve the major problems facing our world.

The opportunities I’ve been given throughout my involvement with Plan have been some of the most inspiring, rewarding, and impactful of my life. As a middle school student, I was privileged to meet dozens of peers from across the globe. I was given the chance to help start Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA), a youth-led organization that runs campaigns around poverty, child exploitation, climate change, and more in schools across the country. I was invited to travel to Brazil to meet with my global peers to discuss global issues and our ideas for solutions. I was encouraged to help create Plan USA’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group to promote youth involvement in governance at Plan’s executive levels. I attended the YUGA Leadership Summit, both as a camper and a camp counselor, where my enthusiasm for and belief in the power of youth was renewed year after year. And ultimately, I was invited to apply for a position on the Board of Directors, a position that I have held for almost a year now.

Plan not only opened my eyes to the current challenges facing our world, it gave me the resources and support to make a difference.

Throughout the years, Plan has remained a constant positive force in my continuously changing life. I’ve graduated from high school, moved from Rhode Island to Chicago, spent five years pursuing a Chemical Engineering degree, and have now begun a career in the energy industry, all while remaining actively involved in Plan.

I still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know that I want to make a difference in the world. I want to experience new cultures and meet people from every corner of the globe. I want to positively impact the lives of others, and fight to end issues like poverty, gender discrimination, and lack of access to education. And through Plan, I know this is all possible.

When youth leaders from around the world come together for the YUGA Leadership Summit in Bristol, RI this month, I hope they realize what Plan has already taught me:

Youth aren’t the future – we’re the present. We have voices, ideas, determination, and passion that is relevant now and deserves to be heard. Plan’s work and dedication to the communities it serves is something that has always inspired me to do more, and I hope to remain closely involved in this organization for many years to come.

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