U.S. teens are generally deficient in understanding life issues of teens in other cultures. This need became apparent during previous interactions among youth from Wisconsin and Nicaragua. The components included in this project will provide opportunities U.S. high school students to learn from their Nicaraguan counterparts. The U.S. students will increase their cultural understanding and share this knowledge with peers in their respective schools and communities.
The Regional Partners of the Americas Conference (panel discussion on international youth issues) was the catalyst event sparking excitement and purpose for continued youth projects. High school students from both Wisconsin and Nicaragua seized and created new opportunities by planning student exchanges and local cultural education events. The youth projects give them a chance to exercise their creativity, be internationally involved and demonstrate the value of volunteering to their peers.
Working on international projects with limited funds requires thinking in ways beyond the typical methods. Successful community leaders are cultivated when youth have opportunities to take ownership, be organized, be involved and learn good decision making skills. Anyone involved in cultural exchanges or experiences easily understands the great impact on a youth's perception of another culture and this project provides first hand opportunities for students to experience their own potential.