OA Youth Engagement Program
The purpose of our OA Youth Engagement Program is to inspire globally-minded youth who engage in education, service, and leadership now and in the future. It was designed to bridge two different cultures on opposite sides of the world. For 35 years, OA has been connecting youth, parents, and leaders from Utah with friends in the community of Ouelessebougou. The benefits on both sides are immeasurable.
In Utah, students are learning about life in a unique place, building connections with new friends, and having opportunities to make a difference in one of the most impoverished areas of the world. In Mali, hundreds of villagers are making new friends, learning about life in a distant land, and receiving much needed assistance, such as donated mosquito nets, classroom materials, or life-saving vaccines.
“I’m grateful I get to help the villagers of Ouelessebougou and learn from them.”
Service Oriented, Globally Minded
Through the OA Youth Engagement Program, students of all ages are having incredible opportunities to connect across cultures. From art exchanges and education days to fundraisers for crucial village needs, students are expanding their global knowledge and feeling the power of their own hands. Our pinnacle leadership opportunity is our OA Ambassadorships, which allows older students to participate in researching local needs, designing their own passion projects, then seeing the results of their work first hand in Mali. The experience for any student who participates in the Youth Engagement Program is life-changing. Not only do students grow in understanding, tolerance, and compassion while they are involved, but the ripple effects carry on with lifetime service-minded citizens.
“The school partnership allows the children of the two communities, who in the future will be outstanding adults, to get to know and understand each other better.”
How Does Volunteering Benefit Youth?
There has perhaps never been another time in history when the mental health of our youth was more threatened. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness are at all-time highs. One of the most effective ways of battling these struggles is through community connection and service. By learning about another culture that lacks so many basic comforts—like clean water, healthcare, and education—youth have an opportunity to become aware of the benefits they take for granted every day. By stepping in to make a difference for villagers who struggle with sickness, a lack of sanitation, hunger, and poverty, Utah students can feel part of something greater than themselves and see the power in their own hands to make a difference.
We know from research that serving others counteracts the effects of stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. It gives a sense of purpose and pride in seeing the results of hard work. Simply connecting with others is one of the single greatest catalysts of happiness. By engaging in the OA Youth Engagement Program students of any age can not only bless the lives of others across the globe but they can also impact their own lives for good.
Ready to Make A Difference?