I became a fan of Youthlinc about six or seven years ago - at the time one of our employees asked me to help sponsor his daughter on a humanitarian trip to Peru. I agreed, not knowing much about Youthlinc at the time. The young woman came into our firm after returning from her Peru experience and gave us a very in-depth report of what she had done and what her team had accomplished. After seeing what the experience had done for her and the good they were able to accomplish, I became a strong advocate. Since then I have sponsored a student every year, and finally had the opportunity to join a team to Guatemala 2 years ago. What an incredible experience! My oldest daughter and I were so grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of people. We loved the experience and learned so much. I think 2 things set Youthlinc apart from so many other groups: 1) The teams are formed in October and begin working together to prepare for their trip the following June/July. You become attached to the team and establish strong bonds that continue for many years. 2) The students are required to commit to giving 80 hours of local community service before going on the international experience. This creates commitment and usually results in building a love of service - both locally and internationally. This organization is top-notch with super-dedicated people who are so committed to Youthlinc's mission - to build lifetime humanitarians.
I was first introduced to Youthlinc while attending a Rotary youth leadership training in 2006. I was immediately interested. Thoughts of traveling overseas ran through my head. Later, as a participate on the Kenya team I quickly learned that Youthlinc is more than just a “service trip” per say. It is a leadership program that requires participants to complete 80 hours of service in their own community before they even step foot on an airplane. I learned how to prepare in-country projects, complete a fundraiser, and network with friends and businesses to gather donations. In short, I became a service leader as I gained the skills I needed to execute my own service incentives. For this, and so much more, I will always be indebted to Youthlinc.
Youthlinc has made such a positive impact not only on my nuclear family, but my extended family, friends, and neighbors as well. The mere fact of my daughter getting involved as a sophmore in high school has created a domino effect. She learned how to serve our local community, setting an example for those around her who continue to serve in many different capacities. Her involvement encouraged countless other high school students to get involved. All of us have made life-long, like-minded friends through Youthlinc who have enriched our lives in a way nothing else could.
Youthlinc teaches its participants how to manage a project from beginning to end, how to work on a committee, and it provides leadership skills to the students. It holds the participants responsible for certain goals they need to reach and offers incredible, supportive resources to help them meet those goals. All the team-building components will stay with my daughter and undoubtedly the other particpants for a life time.
As a 5 year board member of Sustainable Cambodia (SC) I was asked by Judy Zone (Youthlinc's Director) 3 years ago to consider our Cambodia projects to be part of YL's international service locations. SC is a very organized NGO with numerous projects ongoing. As a matter of policy SC stays away from youth groups because of the risk of dealing with youth wanting to travel for the primary sake of picture taking & sightseeing. Before making a commitment to YL I went to Asia to witness YL's organization firsthand. I was completely impressed with YL's team leaders and especially the youth. They worked extremely hard in a very uncomfortable sweaty environment. YL has now been to SC's projects in Cambodia for two years with great success. SC will continue to work with YL and Judy Zone in the future. Now as a board member of YL & SC, I've been able to see the ongoing challenges of keeping an effective youth program moving, part of which is to be fiscally sound. I commend all who support YL financially. Countless youth have been fortunate recipients of YL's vision. Judy Zone has been willing to pop her head above the crowd, to raise needed money, not for the need of recognition but for the ultimate sake of developing youth. Not an easy task! The time and effort it takes to run YL is enormous. Someone has to take the leadership and bear the risk. Thank you Judy!
My 15-year old daughter introduced me to Youthlinc. She had a friend who had gone through the program, which encouraged Katie to do it. She applied, was accepted, and began her journey. The international trip to perform community service in Kenya at the end of the local community service commitment was initially the carrot, but it was the work through the local community service that impacted her the most.
While she had always enjoyed coummunity service, this took her to another level. She volunteered with cancer patients and a grief counseling center for youth. She saw what an impact her services made with these two organizations; it made her understand that simply keeping someone company through a difficult time was powerful.
When she returned from Kenya, she related her stories of the children who their most prized possessions were their bar of soap or their blanket. It has forever changed the way she looks at material possessions. She has moral struggles every time she admires a piece of clothing she'd like buy but is what she considers expensive. Even though she can afford it, she will rarely buy something she considers a frivolity.
More importantly, she convinced her dad to do a similar trip. Never a community-minded person, the trip changed his life and he now understands why community service, even if it's just a financial donation, is so critical to those in need.
Youthlinc has made an amazing, positive impact on our family one family member by one family member. And our strory is like many others.
The years I have spent involved with Youthlinc have be a highlight in my life. my wife and I have traveled to Kenya, Peru, and Cambodia and seen the impact on the lives of hundreds of young humanitarians as well as on the villages they served in.
I just arrived back in the U.S. from two weeks in Kenya with Youthlinc. My wife and I had the pleasure of joining the 41 member team as mentors to 29 teenage kids. The mission of Youthlinc is to create lifetime humanitarians and now I understand how. Our team consisted of amazing people and provided an experience that for most, if that all, will be life changing. We were able to live at a school in Kajuki, Kenya with roughly 250 children (ages 4-12). Our objectives were to complete a number of constructions projects, provide education, establish micro-enterprise loans, and gain an understanding of the needs in the community to help with future Youthlinc trips. I truely believe that the above mission is being met and will continue to support this organization.
Youthlinc has changed our family's outlook on the world and service. Meeting Judy Zone, Youthlinc's founder, was an experienc unlike any I've ever had. Her energy and personal power aimed at assisting youth in SEEING the world and the impact they can have on it (the lives they can change and save) is breathtaking! I especially like that within Youthlinc, youth are taught that their impact is vital worldwide--both in their local communities and in other nations. And that they learn this hands on, through service. Also powerful is Youthlinc partnering those within the community with youth humanitarians in the form of funds to help with their trips. This brings power in service to everyone involved--as well as energy and awareness to the need we all have to be of worth, and the opportunity we all have to heal our world. I'm honored that this year my daughter, Ashley, is serving refugees, and abused and neglected children within her community--and then is going to Cambodia this summer!
Youthlinc allows young people to have meaningful local and international service experiences that will impact them for a lifetime. It creates a culture of service that amazes me every single day. It's a gift for me to be associated with hundreds of youth and mentoring professionals who care so much about others in need. I'm a better person for being around such positive energy, creativity, compassion, and determination to make this world a better place.
Review from Guidestar
I have been a board member and mentor for an international trip. These are experiences that are life enriching and take individuals out of their usual element. It is an opportunity to role model for the next generation and work with amazing young people. There is a strong mission to create humanitarians for life and they really are successful in fulfilling their goal.
YouthLINC is quite simply the best youth service organization I have ever worked with. It is such an amazing thing to watch young men and women change over the course of a year as their eyes are opened to the reality of the needs that exist in their local community as well as the rest of the world. Every youth who participates in the program is changed for the good in a very profound way.
Youthlinc challenges youth to serve in thier local community for an opportunity to give service in a foreign country. Their mission of creating Life Long Humanitarians is unique but I have witnessed year after year young people changed as a result of giving of themselves. Their hearts are made larger and the world is made smaller as participants learn the joy of humanitarian service both far and near their homes. Working and planning with others goings to poor areas in Peru, Mexico, Thialand or Kenya members of the group meet monthly to organize their service and to report on the local service they have provided. My daughter went to Kenya five years ago. To this day, she is constantly giving service to someone. She is just one of hundreds that Youthlinc has helped to become a Life Long Humanitarian.
When you are surrounded by enthusiastic young people who want to make a difference in their world, by parents and donors who believe in the mission of the organization enough to be truly generous, then the job of Executive Director becomes a daily joy. Every day, this organization bears witness to the power of a great idea: creating life-time humanitarians through a unique combination of local and international service -- and the sponsorship that both not only holds young people accountable for their leadership and commitment, but makes the accomplishments of YouthLINC possible.
As a board member, I see the outstanding experience this organization provides the youth in our community. They truly creat "Lifetime Humanitarians"!