Maximizing young leaders' potential to impact their world through YFI's public health initiative

Experience Serve, Learn, & Empower

Abeadze Dominase, Ghana

Real Service

Real Leadership

Real Empowerment

"Being part of the Youth Futures International Ghana team was the most amazing experience I've ever had and I will never forget it. I loved being able to work with people from all over the world, and make a difference in their communities. Everything from the culture to the community forums was spectacular.  I've missed everyone on the team and everyone I met in the communities."

—  Margaret Anderson

2013 Ghana Team Member from Minnesota

Ghana Team Members in Schools and Classrooms

"As the parent of a Ghana 2014 Alumni, I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful program.  Kaitlin had an empowering, enriching, and inspiring experience and she can't wait to go back. The communication throughout this experience was outstanding, I always felt that she was safe and in good hands, and when your child is in a foreign country, that is everything to a parent.  This program really did make a difference in her life, and I am so glad she had the opportunity to be a part of this program."

—  Kristi McClelland

Parent of 2014 Ghana Team Member

About Serve, Learn, & Empower

Youth Futures International is a nonprofit organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts. Its Serve, Learn, & Empower program provides high school and college students with an international service learning and leadership experience while offering public health education as a member of our Ghana Team in Dominase. YFI's Ghana Team Members from around the U.S. and the world develop and implement leadership activities and public health initiatives to educate and prevent a variety of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Cholera. Through a variety of instructional lessons in the classroom and group discussions with Ghanaian youth and peers, along with sport and games activities, participants work in unison with children and youth in the community to accomplish these objectives.

"Ghana was my first time out of the country and every day I wish I could go back.  It is such an amazing and special place that truly opened my eyes.  My host family was absolutely amazing!  Not only was the traveling the great great bonus, but the fact that I got to help people while I was there was the part that was rewarding for me.  The feeling I get when I know I am doing good in the world.  The rush I get when I realize that I have helped someone was my favorite part of the trip!  The opportunity you have given me is one that not many people get.  I am very thankful for that."

—  Kennedy L.

2011 Ghana Team Member from Michigan

Ghana Team Members have an inspiring opportunity to provide service in a developing nation and get to immerse themselves in the culture of Dominase, Ghana. In addition to the program being led by our Executive Program Director, Zoe Baylin, who has an undergraduate degree in public health, YFI also works with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health to provide the organization with a graduate student intern pursuing his/her master's degree in public health. This intern provides year round contributions on curriculum, travels with the team to Ghana during programs, and helps track and evaluate the effectiveness of YFI's program in the communities it serves.

"My daughter Alesia participated in the Youth Future International Ghana program during the summer before her junior year in high school, and the experience really helped her solidify her commitment to global public health issues generally, and a career in medicine. In the 2 weeks that she stayed in Ghana, she formed relationships and had experiences that changed her world view. In fact, she is still in contact with some of her Ghanaian friends. When I say she still cries when she thinks of all that she learned and felt as a result of her experience there, I am not exaggerating. I am so happy that we were able to have her participate. It has shaped her college choices, and I know it will affect how she pursues her career. I know she hopes to go back there one day, and I have a feeling she will!"

—  Cindi Ptak

Parent of 2014 Ghana Team Member

Serve
Learn
Empower
David Buchanan, DrPH

Professor, University of Massachusetts School of Public Health & Health Sciences

"We are proud to have sent three of our children to Ghana with YFI's Serve, Learn, and Empower project. The experiences our children had were unlike anything they ever encountered in their lives. Our children were completely immersed and accepted into the community and culture of the Ghanaian people. Our children were empowered, humbled and challenged. They returned home with a completely new and different perspective on what living in a global world is like."

—  Ellie Pariseault

Parent of 2013 and 2015 Ghana Team Members

See and Experience Ghana

The Canopy Walk at Kakum National Park near Cape Coast and a visit to Cape Coast Castle, a World Heritage Site, are two highlights students experience after their first full week in the village. Students will also get to shop around Cape Coast for souvenirs and will have an opportunity to experience Accra, the nation's capital, upon arrival and at the end of the program.

The vast majority of schools in the U.S. require students, especially those in high school, to perform a certain number of community service hours before graduating. As a nonprofit organization, YFI is able to sign off on forms schools and school districts have for verifying those hours (all forms from around the country YFI has certified for students who have participated in its programs have stated that organizations must be nonprofit).

The Serve, Learn, & Empower program includes 80 service hours.

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