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Review for Youthlinc, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Youthlinc was a BLAST. I had the opportunity to serve as a part of the Peru Logan team in Santa Isabel. Youthlinc is different from other organizations because of the service oriented work, focused on youth and overall development of character in participants.

1. Service: Youthlinc requires student participants to complete 80 hours of local service during the service year in order to prepare for international service (a Youthlinc trip). 40 hours are spent doing miscellaneous service activities while the other 40 are spent at one specific organization chosen by the participant. Having 40 hours with a specific organization helps develop a real bond between the participant and those being served by the participant.

My main service site, Williamsburg Assisted Living, was a dream! I looked forward to going every day because I got to know the people extremely well. Learning about their stories and serving the residents every day really helped me to connect with them and feel a true love for them in my heart.

I also had the wonderful chance to work alongside the Activities Director in order to help plan and execute activities. I even created some of my own ideas and activities that I executed as my little “projects” while I was there. I love that Youthlinc makes service a part of the preparation because it’s not solely about the international service trip, but also about being a member of the community and serving the people around you. Serving 80 hours was hard work, but it helped me learn a lot about myself and how to prepare for international service.

When we were serving in Peru, our days were jam packed full of work to do! There was always an English lesson going on, construction was busy, vocational was sewing, the business committee was teaching and the mural was being painted all at the same time. Every day. The work grind was tireless and might I just say it was the BEST! I was grateful to go to Peru and be put to work to actually get the things done that needed to happen for the village. Shelly and Mark Burningham, our Team Leaders did an amazing job of keeping everything organized so we could be effective workers. Everyone served together which made for a great team bonding experience.

2. Youth Focus: Youth Leadership is a huge part of Youthlinc. In the beginning of the service year, we were given assignments to specific committees: Cultural, Vocational, Health, Education or Business. Within those committees, we, as youth, had the opportunity to lead by choosing what we’d do within our committee in Santa Isabel. I was in the Cultural committee. We got to choose what to do for the fun fair - a day of fun activities to do with the villagers before we had to leave the village. We chose nail painting, friendship bracelets, face painting, family pictures, and so many more fun things! The sky was the limit! Every committee had the opportunity to be lead by youth inside of that committee to choose what they’d like to implement during their time in Peru.

Another helpful instance was our English lesson planning. As a Youthlinc participant, we all had to come up with a lesson to teach the students in Santa Isabel. I chose to do a P.E. lesson. Within that lesson, I had the freedom to plan anything I wanted to do. I chose to teach the students movement words in English (run, jump, dance, skip, etc.) I had help if I needed it from the Mentors and Team Leaders. I really felt like my lesson was solely designed by me and that I had the choice to do whatever I wanted to teach. Encouraging unique freedom and leadership opportunities like this for youth is such an integral part of Youthlinc that makes it stand out.

3. Character Development: I’m not going to lie; completing this past service year was not easy. Although it wasn’t easy, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I learned so much about myself, others and my outlook on life because I had to work for this trip. Through constant work on fundraising, creating lesson plans, committee assignments and service hours, I found so much joy just to be alive because I could see the way I was impacting those around me as well as myself. These feelings not only apply to the people I was serving, but I also felt those feelings by spreading the message of Youthlinc through fundraising, finding self confidence through lesson planning in my own unique way and connecting with other participants on the team. I have so much passion for this organization! Youthlinc doesn’t just send some kids out to build a school - there’s so much more to this organization that develops the participants to be better people throughout the whole year. There’s a reason Youthlinc’s focus is on “creating lifetime humanitarians”. The program helps develop the fundamental values of self-reliance, a serving heart, and personal developmental attributes through the requirements and expectations.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of the Youthlinc team this year. I have learned so much about myself, others and the world because of this opportunity in my life. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it because of the experiences I was able to have serving locally, stepping up to youth leadership, developing myself and having a greater love for the people around me as well as in Peru.

Soy peruana en mi corazón para siempre.

Role:  Volunteer