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Youth Action International is a non-governmental organization that uses grassroots techniques to develop and implement programs that help alleviate the suffering of children affected by war or living in difficult circumstances, empower them to reach their full potential, and break cycles of violence and poverty.

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Empowering Africa


Read the YAI 2010-2012 Annual Report: Empowering Africa (pdf)

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October 20, 2013

Weeks receives World’s Children’s Prize Honorary Award

Youth Action International’s Executive Director Dr. Kimmie Weeks has been named winner of the 2013 World Children’s Prize Honorary Award. The Prize is presented annually by The Royal Family of Sweden and honors champions of children’s rights around the world. It is considered the most prestigious prize for children’s rights in the world.

Kimmie Weeks received the award from HRH Crowne Princess Victoria of Sweden on Thursday October, 17th at the Gripsholms Castle in Mariefred, Sweden. The World’s Children’s Prize is the world’s largest annual educational program teaching young people about the rights of the child, democracy and global friendship.

Presented in Stockholm, Sweden by HM the Queen of Sweden, the prize honors individuals who have dedicated much of their live to promoting the rights and wellbeing of children. The World Children Prize serve as a catalyst for growth and development of a more humane global community through integrated global educational programed, engaging a growing number of children throughout the world.

Every year the children decide, through a Global Vote, who should receive the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. The record number of voting children is 7.1 million. Before the prize is awarded, several million children have learned about the rights of the child and democracy.

July 15, 2013

WE ARE BUILDING A PERMANENT HOME!

Youth Action International started its operations back in 2005 as a small college based organization. Several Years later, we have impacted thousands of lives in West & East Africa. This year, we are taking another leap forward to building a permanent office, which will also house a Center for Women’s Empowerment, a Center for Early Childhood Education, and the Chevron supported Center for Liberia Arts, Crafts and Culture. This is an incredible opportunity and we are calling on all of you our long time supporters to join us in making this possible.

In August, we will kick off our first ever major fundraising event outside of North America. Under the theme “United for Women,” the fundraiser dinner will he held in Liberia at the Royal Grand Hotel and will help to raise funds for this important endeavor. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be one of our honorees.

This is probably one of our most important initiatives, and we would really appreciate were you to make a contribution to help us get there. No amount is too small or too great, so please make a contribution today.

May 24, 2013

NEW! An exclusive trip to Liberia!

Did you ever dream that your message could uplift, educate and transform people in a war torn nation? This completely unique experience allows you to share your message, passion and skills from stage to hundreds of young women and men hungry for empowerment inside Monrovia’s Civic Auditorium, and run a workshop tailored to the needs of the vibrant, rebuilding good citizens of Liberia. Your trip includes the filming and a professional DVD of your work to build your reputation as a global transformational leader, and our group will be featured in local media opportunities! You will also receive specific transformational training regarding Building your Business & Legacy, facilitated throughout the trip by Trip Hosts, Robert Evans, founder of The Messenger Network, and Spryte Loriano, founder of SpryteLorianoGlobal, and One Emotional Integration and BodyWork session by a trained US certified Therapist and Healer to support your own process of empowerment as you provide it to others!

Your participation on this voluntour will also launch a brand new Women’s Empowerment Center to serve hundreds of women a year, establishing a legacy for yourself and your family that can literally change a nation! Our humanitarian mission is facilitated by world-renown, 31 year old, child-rights activist, Dr. Kimmie Weeks (www.peaceforkids.org) Founder and Director of Youth Action International (YAI), who was appointed in February 2012 by President Sirleaf (Africa’s first female President) as Chairman of the Board for Liberia’s Water and Sewer Company, and has had the ominous task of reinstituting running water back to the people in Monrovia. But our adventure doesn’t stop there, as we will travel several hours through lush landscapes and small towns into the rural area of Grand Bassa, spending two days empowering the young men and women students at YAI’s Women’s Empowerment and Computer Learning Center, visit with hundreds of school children, and distribute life-saving, permanent clean water solutions for thousands of grateful families.

Get your sleep before you come to Liberia, as you will not want to miss a minute of the incredible, transformational stories of living through decades of civil war, and discovering the attitude and energy it takes to be part of not just changing lives, but rebuilding a nation!

Or to sign up for the trip, email: spryte.loriano@gmail.com
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March 25, 2013

YAI & PARTNERS BEGIN RURAL WATER FILTER DISTRIBUTION

Youth Action International and its partners at Manifest Foundation and Waves4Water have begun distribution of more than 600 water filters to rural Liberian communities. The filters are intended to provide safe drinking water to populations who would otherwise depend on unsafe drinking sources for water. The 600 water filters will provide clean drinking water to 60,000 people. This is the first phase of a larger project to supply enough water filters so every family in Liberia has access to safe drinking water.

March 25, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Kimmie Weeks speaks at WISE Summit

Youth Action International’s Executive Director Dr. Kimmie Weeks delivers presentation at the World Innovation Summit on Education in Qatar. Weeks speaks on the topic: Youth Empowerment in Post-Conflict Areas in Africa.
Kimmie Weeks speaks at WISE Summit in Qatar

March 25, 2013

Kimmie Weeks named among three nominees for World’ Children Prize

Liberia’s world renowned child and youth activist Dr.Kimmie L. Weeks, is one of three people nominated as recipients of the 2013 World’s Children Prize for his work as a child rights activist and as Executive Director of Youth Action International.

Presented in Stockholm, Sweden by HM the Queen of Sweden, the prize honors individuals who have dedicated much of their live to promoting the rights and wellbeing of children. The World Children Prize serve as a catalyst for growth and development of a more humane global community through integrated global educational programed, engaging a growing number of children throughout the world.
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March 25, 2013

Liberian Leader Lauds YAI Center for Women

Flashback: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday attended the official launch of the Youth Action International Center for Women which will provide vocational training to 150 women annually.

Rema Bull, Retail Supervisor at Total Petroleum Inc. and a recent graduate of Cuttington University, served as keynote speaker. She called on Government to prioritize women’s empowerment across the nation.
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December 5, 2012

YAI EMPOWERMENT CENTERS HOLD 2012 GRADUATION

The first phase of Youth Action International’s Center for Women’s Empowerment program has ended with the awarding of completion certificates to close to 200 women who successfully participated in the program for six months. Another 500 women who benefited from the organization’s workshops on small business enterprise also concluded their trainings, which is expected to help them grow and improve their existing businesses.

The women are part of an initiative sponsored by the Alabaster Foundation, Burt Family Foundation, Cellcom, Chevron and the Manifest Foundation to provide skills training and workshops in small businesses development to 3,000 Liberian women over a two year period.

At one of the graduation programs held in Grand Bassa County, Youth Action International’s Executive Director Dr. Kimmie Weeks expressed his gratitude to the organization’s corporate, foundation and individual supporters for helping the organization achieve its goals. “We truly could not have done this without your support. In a single year, we’ve expanded to counties we could have only dreamt of going to before and we have impacted more women than we’ve ever done.”

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September 3, 2012

Manifest Foundation donates laptops to YAI

 

Manifest Foundation has donated 6 refurbished laptops to YAI’s free computer training center in Buchannan, Grand Bassa County.  The donation will help YAI provide computer training to additional young people in Liberia’s second largest port city.

 

The laptops were donated second hand by individuals in the United States.  Donated laptops are then completely refurbished and loaded with new programs (free of charge) and sent to YAI’s computer training programs across Liberia.

 

Bethany Webster – the visionary behind the Liberian laptop gifting program said: “This is such a simple way for our community to make a huge difference to serve others in need! This idea was birthed on my first trip to Liberia, visiting Manifest Foundation sponsored, Youth Action International Computer Learning Center for young men and women in rural villages. I’m so proud of Jason for his passion to help, and I appreciate the way The Manifest Foundation bridges the right partners together to make it all work! Now it’s up to us – let loose of those old laptops! And let’s get the tools for higher education into the hands of young people!”

To donate a used laptop to YAI’s free computer training program, here’s what we need you to do…
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September 3, 2012

YAI conducts training for school teachers

Monrovia, Liberia: The US based organization called Youth Action International (YAI) has commenced its teacher training initiative called the Liberia Early Childhood Practiced-based Accelerated Teacher Training program (LECAPT). The program is intended the train a total of 400 pre-primary teachers in Montserrado on child development, classroom management, curriculum and assessment. The second in a series of training workshops took place on Saturday, August 25th at the Love International School in Sinkor and brought together close to 200 teachers.

Youth Action International has been implementing LECAPT in Liberian schools for the third year running. In 2009, the program was introduced to a small group of about 20 schools. Each of the schools received some training and materials for their students. Since 2010, YAI widened the reach of its program to benefit more than 400 teachers in 75 schools. This year, the program is providing educational materials for the teachers and close to 24,000 students.
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YAI BLOGS more news

Posted by Kimmie, 2/1/12

Youth Action International High School Youth Leader of the Year 2011

Congratulations to Amanda Hurlbut, a 12th grade student, who since 2009, has led Kids with Sole, in coordination with YAI to send 3000 pairs of sneakers to children in Liberia.

Posted by Kimmie, 11/6/11

My Liberian internship

It is a year since I began my internship at Youth Action International and what I thought would be an easy task is very difficult. I do not know where to start in talking about my experiences over the last one year. To save myself from overworking my young brain trying to think about my experiences, I will use this medium to extend my gratitude to Kimmie and the Youth Action International family for affording me the opportunity to grow and develop in a more responsible leader.

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Posted by Kimmie, 10/6/09

Surrounded by Angels

estherI’ve been thinking about what to write since I came back from Liberia.  I am from Spain and English is my fourth language – I also speak Spanish, Italian, and Catalan.  So as you can imagine, it took me forever to put all my thoughts in order in English.

My name is Esther Rodriguez-Brown. My husband, Michael, and I are the founders of The Embracing Project, a non profit organization we created to educate inner city youth about the similarities between genocide and gang activity.  One purpose of this journey is to expose inner city youth to the experiences of children soldiers in different parts of the world and then to create a pen-pal relationship between both groups.

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Posted by Lauren, 10/6/08

Invite Kimmie Weeks to speak.

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Every year, Kimmie Weeks embarks on a nationwide speaking tour to motivate young people to become pioneers of change. To date, thousands of students have heard his message and many of them have gone on to start their own humanitarian organizations or have joined other change-making programs.

Contact Natsumi Ajiki: natsumi @ peaceforkids.org

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Posted by Cody, 10/4/08

A snap of Africa

cody-hall.jpg“What have I gotten myself into?”

This is a question that has come up many times on my journey to Africa.

I suppose to clarify, and so as not to sound like a cynic, I should explain a little bit about myself.  I’ve been a photographer for two and a half years now.  When I first picked up a camera the only thought that went through my head was “Awesome, now I have a big chunk of metal, plastic and glass that will allow me to take clearer photos and I’ll soon be rich and famous as a result of having this camera!”

This was not the case as I am neither rich, nor famous (side from my own delusions of grandeur.)   Anyways all of that is beside the point.  If someone had told me the day that I picked up that camera that it would eventually lead me to post war West Africa, I would have laughed in their faces.  Not because traveling to West Africa is a crazy idea, but simply because I did not see myself ever getting past the stage of “hobbyist” photography.

And yet, here I sit, in Sierra Leone, thousands of miles from home (6168 miles approximately) volunteering as the photographer for Youth Action International.

Now in regards to Africa, particularly Sierra Leone and Liberia, I don’t think that anything could have really prepared me for what I would experience here.   This is including Kimmie’s ‘worst case scenario’ description of Liberia.

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Posted by Lauren, 9/23/08

Notes from Africa. by Lauren Emerson

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I wish I had been more diligent about documenting my experiences and reactions in Liberia, but I seemed to always put off the act of writing.  I always told myself I was too tired or busy, but the truth is that I had a very difficult time reflecting on the barrage of experiences at the time. Throughout my time in Africa, I realized that I did not once shed a tear.  It was only once I was on the plane from Accra to New York, on my way back to my privileged and comfortable life, that I was able to absorb the memories and the pictures that I was taking with me. As I looked through the pictures I had taken on my camera, I cried for a half an hour straight. I cried thinking about the hopeful faces on the small children at Temas Orphanage that I was leaving. I cried for young people of Grand Bassa County who do not have the opportunity to go to school.  I cried because I realized that my life would be changed forever and I cried because I felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness. 

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Posted by memory, 5/9/08

Is Kony really interested in peace?

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A cross-section of observers, traditional and religious leaders, local and international media stormed Ri-Kwangba last week to witness the historical moment were Joseph Kony, the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) leader was supposed to sign the final peace agreement. The rest of the world held its breath to witness the day that northern Uganda would finally get to normalcy after 20 years of conflict between the Government of Uganda and the LRA rebels.

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Posted by memory, 4/29/08

Journey to Uganda – by Heehwa Choi

Heehwa

“Aren’t you nervous?” my dear friend carefully asked me when I told her that I’d be visiting Uganda. That’s how my parents reacted at first. I told myself it is not because Uganda is part of Africa that they are worried for my travel. Traveling to new places is always uncertain to some extent. However, I couldn’t deny that part of me was more worried than usual. What would I see? How would I feel? What should I expect? Am I mature enough? Above all, the question was ‘why would I want to go visit Africa’? I cannot tell Uganda story leaving out the influence of Kimmie and Youth Action International. I actually met Kimmie at Northfield Mount Hermon High School where Kimmie graduated from.  

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Posted by memory, 4/19/08

Peace in Uganda?

 

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an Acholi-based opposition group led by Joseph Kony has been fighting first against president Museveni’s government, and currently against other Acholi peoples. The Acholi are an ethnic group who live in Northern Uganda. Though Kony, leader of the LRA reportedly believes he has been chosen by God to overthrow president Museveni and establish a government based on the Ten Commandments, and a purified Acholi race, the LRA has yet to explain its goals or put forth any sort of political agenda.
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Posted by Abigail, 9/3/07

Death in Uganda

I wasn’t promised an African sunset. When Kimmie Weeks invited me on a humanitarian mission through post-conflict countries, what came to mind were the stunning landscape pictures my friends had brought back from the ranch in Kenya. It was how I had envisioned this beautiful continent. Streaks of red and orange, firing up the night sky of deep blue and purple: a kaleidoscope of color. Instead, I found another kind of sunset. I found the African people wasting away, dying brutal, horrific deaths at the hands of war, disease, and poverty. I found the sun setting on their lives. Not fading into the night with brilliant lights, but being shredded into a nonexistence wracked with pain and suffering. Continue reading continue

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