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American Indian Youth Running Strong aka Running Strong for American Indian Youth
November 4, 2012

Running Strong for American Indian Youth helps of our nation's most impoverished people, with a special focus on the young members of the community. I know the need is great, especially in South Dakota, where Running Strong is on the ground providing direct help.The organization also supports other American Indian relief charities. I have had the opportunity to speak with some of the people who lead Running Strong. They're compassionate, conscientious, passionate and hardworking. Running Strong is a solid, well-run and deserving charity.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
General Member of the Public

Youth Journalism International
September 5, 2010

I began working with young writers, artists and photographers on a weekly basis in 1994. My involvement grew over time and now I give several hours each day to YJI. Working with students at Youth Journalism International is among the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life. These young people are bright, talented, compassionate and eager to learn. We set high expectations for them, from ethics to storytelling and they consistently deliver. Through serious news stories, feature writing and reviews as well as first person journaling about such diverse topics as high school life, Hurricane Katrina, family travel to an ancestral homeland and fasting for Ramadan, YJI students offer the world a new perspective. They are the future of journalism, a field which badly needs an infusion of good young people. But they are so much more. YJI students have also gone into law, medicine, teaching, homemaking, computer technology, social work and more. We are very proud of each of them. Many alumni stay involved and help younger students. No matter the field they choose, they all gain confidence in themselves by conducting interviews and writing powerful stories. They learn that they, too, have a voice, and they learn how to use it effectively. One of the most rewarding parts of leading this wonderful organization is seeing the many friendships that develop between YJI students around the globe. Without YJI, these young people would have a narrower world view and something would be missing from their lives -- the friends they met and the perspective they gained by getting to know young journalists in other countries, from cultures and religions other than their own. It's extremely gratifying to see understanding and then bonds of friendship develop between them. YJI students and YJI alumni have spirit, energy and great ideas. They give me great hope for the future and for a peaceful world. I can't imagine my life without them.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Some students enter YJI at an advanced level and do great work right away. We polish those skills and savor their triumphs. Others come with few skills in English, writing or journalism. Helping them learn and watching them grow is especially sweet.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have adequate funding so YJI's leaders could dedicate themselves full time to its deserving students instead of squeezing in volunteer hours while working another job. With new students weekly, YJI is ready to soar, but suffers from a lack of money.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the light bulb go on in students as they discover their voice, whether writing or interviewing. It's wonderful when they see the power they have to make a difference through words. I also love seeing friendships develop between students.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

the students and alumni and supporters of YJI are among the finest people in the world and are definitely my favorites! They go above and beyond in every way.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

build more bridges between people and nations. It would have staff around the world working directly with students. It would bring students from different nations together to work collaboratively on projects while promoting cross-cultural understanding.

Ways to make it better...

I can't imagine a better experience, except being able to dedicate myself full time to YJI and its amazing young people.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the need for funding. YJI's volunteer leaders must constantly make the difficult choice of how to spend their limited time - work with students now, or focus on raising money so they can work more with students in the future.

One thing I'd also say is that...

YJI is amazing because of the awesome people who are in it and who support it with their generous gifts. YJI is truly making the world a better place by building bridges between people and giving young people a voice. Thanks to all who make it possible!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I am a co-founder of Youth Journalism International. I work directly with students all around the world via email, telephone and video chat. Along with two co-editors (one of them is a former YJI student) we teach students about journalism, writing, inter.