I was a student with YJI in the 1990s. It gave me the skills and confidence to become a professional writer. It also instilled in me the importance journalists play in the survival of our democracy. That's something we need more of today. That's why I will be a lifetime YJI donor.
I started working with the Youth Journalism International staff as a 15-year-old high school freshmen. There I learned everything I needed to know about being a newspaper reporter. I wrote editorials, news stories, and even movie reviews. While I was part of the groups, we won dozens of journalism awards -- many that pitted us against professionals in the field. That is a testament to the high quality of this learning experience. Through regular meetings and intensive, personal guidance from advisers Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins, I grew as a person. The skills I picked up -- writing abilities, learning how to talk to strangers, self-confidence, an appreciation for people of different backgrounds -- helped prepare me for college. They nurtured me as an individual in a way that many kids don't get in a traditional learning environment. Today, I have been a professional journalist for seven years. I continued to stay in touch with YJI, volunteering whenever I can.
Our nephew is now an engineering student at The University of The Philippines. Two years ago he was finishing high school and writing as a reporter for YJI. He was a reporter for his high school newspaper. YJI gave him a chance to interact with an international group of journalists and write for a broader audience. He was able to show people outside the Philippines the experience of Christmas in the Philippines, where the country is predominantly Catholic. He also wrote about the Pope's recent visit to the country, and the controversy that ensued. Over five million Filipinos congregated to see the Pope. YJI truly affords students in what are often poor, remote countries the opportunity to project themselves upon a larger stage and develop as writers. My wife and I continue to support this amazing program.
The job that YJI carries out is relevant, essential and needed for the world, especially with the current political and social tendencies that we see unfolding globally. This organization provides a voice to young people, so they can express their views, challenge opinions, discuss ideas and report on the reality that is lived in different regions of the planet.
I was part of this organization as a teenager when my passion for journalism and communications started. The founders and other volunteers were friendly, creative and devoted. They taught me great lessons that are still valuable to my professional life. I remain now part of their alumni network, because I believe it is important to help this organization to welcome young people looking to make a difference in the world.
YJI empowers young people and helps them develop their potential. I recommend its work greatly to anyone interested in making a positive impact within their communities. Additionally, the people that work with YJI are passionate- so you will not only work with people who are great at what they do but who love doing it.
Many people have been complaining about the press lately. Well, I can insert a cliche here, but I want to be nice. Even a small donation to this educational charity is money well spent if you like real journalism and want it for our future and; as a bonus, it helps foster world peace. Youth Journalism International (YJI) is one of the most important charities now more than ever as it continues to unite people across the globe. A few months ago, through YJI, my kids and I had the opportunity to meet and hear a man from Afghanistan speak about issues there at an event in Bristol, CT, USA, of all places. Check out YJI's work for yourself and make an investment in a better world!
I have been involved with YJI for 16 years, since I was high school freshman. The writing, interviewing and editing skills and practice I gained at YJI at no cost were all priceless. In addition, YJI writers are currently in five continents, so it's easy to make friends worldwide.
As an avid reader of newspapers, I support Youth Journalism International's effort to educate and train teens from allover the world in reporting and writing of events affecting their lives.