Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome Katie, Our New DC Intern!


My name is Katie and I am the new Youth Engagement and Action intern in Plan USA’s Washington, DC office. I am so excited to be part of the YEA team and to learn more about all the great work your YUGA chapters are doing across the country! Now to tell you a bit about myself: I love learning about other countries and I have been lucky enough to travel to every continent except for Australia (though it’s high on my list!). I even lived in Ecuador for a year and I really enjoyed immersing myself into a new culture practicing my Spanish, and trying lots of new foods (guinea pig included!). I spent the past two years working on global education programs in DC schools, and now I’m currently studying International Development Studies in graduate school. In my free time I love to explore the city, go to baseball games (I am one of the only true Nationals fans), and I love to dance!

Just like you, I really believe that we are all global citizens and that we must do our part to help one another. I am thrilled to do whatever I can to support your YUGA chapters and to help you raise awareness for global issues in your community. Best of luck and we’ll be in touch!

Thanks so much,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poverty Week at Cranston East

Written by Luis, Cranston East YUGA Chapter

Poverty week for us really began two weeks before the actual designated week. Two weeks ahead, we had a planning meeting where we set out our goals for CHSE Poverty Awareness Week. We all agreed that we wanted to both raise awareness and money for poverty. So we decided our game plan for the week in a way that could reach both goals. First, we decided upon making a banner to hang up in our school telling everyone about our Poverty Week. In addition, we also came up with daily meseges we would have announced on the BBC (Bolt Broadcasting Corps, East's daily announcement service).
We managed to make the 50 lunches for Crossroads, albeit we were almost stopped by some mishaps (many people forgot to bring the items they agreed to bring, or they, along with their items, just didn't show up). But, one of us ran to CVS and got the items we needed. But overall, the lunch making was extremely successful. We had over 20 people come to the meeting, which is triple the normal meeting attendees. Everyone was in high spirits and we made the 50 lunches in an organized fashion.

We also wrote some inspirational messages on notecards and put them inside the lunch bags to try and brighten the day for whoever recieved the lunch. And to top it all off, we posed in front of our Yuga Poverty Awareness Banner with the lunches like the coolcats we are B].

Oh, I can't forget our bake sale! The friday morning of that week, some of us brought in some cookies and cupcakes to give away free (in exchange for a small donation), since we're not allowed to "sell" cupcakes, since it goes against our school wellness policy. So we had to play with the terminology a bit. We set up a table in the cafeteria before homeroom to "give away the cupcakes". From there, most of us took the cupcakes on platter around the school, heckling people to donate and get a free cupcake in exchange. We raised I think about $60!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Giving Thanks

by Kerry, YEA Fall Intern

Everyone at some point in their lives has probably heard the expression “Come to the dinner table/eat your peas/finish your brussel sprouts! Don’t you know there are starving kids in the world?”

A few months ago, my six-year-old cousin Ann was dawdling to the dinner table when my uncle first said those well-known words to her. Her response was less well-known and not exactly the response her parents expected. Ann asked if they could tell her the addresses of the hungry kids so she could bring them her food because it made her sad that she had food and they didn’t. The expression aimed towards encouraging children to give thanks for what they have encouraged my cousin to give up her food to give to kids she didn’t even know so that they wouldn’t be hungry.

Who knew people in the United States, let alone youths in the United States, cared about helping people or appreciating what they have? After all, we’ve only recently been surpassed by China as the world’s largest consuming nation. We have less than 5 percent of the world population and use 21 percent of the world’s energy. We spend more money per day on blue jeans than some countries spend a year on food.

The United States actually gives the most money in aid to other countries; however, in terms of percent of all the money in the US, we’re very far from first place. Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands far outrank the United States in terms of aid as a percent of all funds within the country. The United States and Japan are tied at .19% of national income going towards foreign aid.

Private philanthropy accounts for about 23% of all US funds towards other countries. Private philanthropy includes foundations, corporations, voluntary organizations, and universities and colleges. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spearheaded by billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, is the most well known of these types of organizations.

The statistics and data sets and pie charts don’t mention the young philanthropists or the children like my cousin who, given the opportunity, would help out people they’d never met in a heartbeat. They appreciate everything they’ve been lucky enough to have in life and would go even further and give up what they have to help others. In the upcoming holiday season, keep children like Ann in mind, but also the children she wanted to help and who desperately need help.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

YUGA Takes Shape in Maryland

Some YUGA Chapters have been able to get started quickly and easily. With the strong support of teachers and the principal, YUGA chapters can quickly come together and have a strong presence in schools. Our online issue toolkits, including the How to Start a YUGA Chapter toolkit, can help students become positive activists in their community.
Sometimes, however, students can run into obstacles to getting their group started. For sisters Nadyah and Jana, getting approval for a YUGA Chapter was a longer process than they had anticipated. "Things don't always turn out the way you want them to" says Nadyah. "I had many obstacles to face...But with the help of all the YUGA resources it was MUCH easier to get started."
She first met with her school's principal, but was asked to wait nearly two months for a response. After going through a lengthy approval process, she wasn't able to campaign for many of YUGA's issues. However, Nadyah was persistent with her school administrators and they were able to make a compromise. Nadyah's principal agreed to use some of the YUGA toolkits to help make her school a 'Green School,' an accreditation from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). She's also scheduling a school assembly with ACE, the Alliance for Climate Education, who we heard this summer at YUGA Leadership Camp. By focusing on YUGA's campaign for climate change, Nadyah is able to get her peers involved with environmental sustainability and make a difference in her community.
"This wasn't what I had fully hoped for it to be," says Nadyah, "but by starting a small chapter, hopefully I will be able to advocate even more."
Kudos to Nadyah and Jana, who continue to fight for their voices to be heard!
If you'd like help with getting your YUGA chapter started, visit the Plan website at www.planusa.org/youth, or contact Corrie at corrie.bonham@planusa.org.

Monday, November 1, 2010

YUGA's Themes of the Month 2010-2011

Need some ideas to keep your YUGA Chapter moving? Wondering what issues your YUGA chapter should be focusing on throughout the year? Below is a list of themes that we'll be writing about each month, centered around a national or international day of action. These themes address all five of YUGA's current campaigns: HIV/AIDS, Child Exploitation, Climate Change, Global Poverty, and Because I am a Girl. The monthly newsletter will discuss each issue in detail and is packed with information, resources, and ideas to help your YUGA chapter take action!

December 2010- HIV/ AIDS
December 1: World AIDS Day
January 2011- Children in Conflict Zones
January 1: World Day of Peace
February 2011- The President’s Take on YUGA Issues
February 18: President’s Day
March 2011- Walk for Wells/ Access to Clean Water and Sanitation/ Because I Am a Girl
March 8: International Women’s Day
March 22: World Day for Water
April 2011- Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
April 22: Earth Day
May 2011- Global Poverty and Fair Trade
2nd Saturday of May - World Fair Trade Day
June 2011- Child Labor and Exploitation
June 12 - World Day Against Child Labor

Make sure that you're receiving the E-newsletter by signing up on Plan USA's homepage, or send Corrie an email to be added to the list.