YOUTH FROM JOURNEY FOR CHANGE: EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH GLOBAL SERVICE VOLUNTEER IN NEW ORLEANS TO REBUILD HOUSES WITH ST. BERNARD PROJECT
Global Ambassadors From Brooklyn, NY Aid Victims of Hurricane Katrina
(April 8, 2009) -- Thirty Global Ambassadors, ages 12-16, from Brooklyn, New York will rebuild houses in New Orleans, LA April 10-15 with the non-profit organization St. Bernard Project. Hailing from the at-risk neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, the youth are a part of Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service, a year-long global service program that aims to build global leaders through education, service, and advocacy.
Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service was created by humanitarian and activist Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock. The youth began their year of service in August, 2008 when Ms. Compton-Rock led them on a mission to Johannesburg, South Africa to volunteer with orphaned and vulnerable children and granny-led households in the shanty towns of Diepsloot and Soweto for two-weeks. With support from the South African NGO's The Olive Leaf Foundation and The Salvation Army South Africa, as well as from South African Airways and South African Tourism, the youth participated in a rich and diverse program volunteering in homes, schools, community centers, and orphanages, and with visits to Johannesburg's most important monuments, museums, and national parks.
The program's main three objectives were to introduce travel to youth who have never had the opportunity to leave their home neighborhood; introduce service to youth who have been on the receiving end of aid, but not on the giving end of service; and to reinforce in the youth, who live in the inner-city and feel disenfranchised, that there are many more inherent opportunities in the U.S. as opposed to the third world, and that they must take advantage of them. Now fulfilling a year-long commitment of service, education, and advocacy work as Global Ambassadors, volunteering in New Orleans will fulfill their obligations as they rebuild houses and learn about the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the residents of New Orleans.
The 30 youth regularly attend The Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center's after-school program. Bushwick, Brooklyn is neighborhood that has consistently struggled with drug abuse, gang violence, and poverty. The Salvation Army Community Center serves as a haven for the youth offering tutoring, computer, recreational and nutritional programs in a safe and nurturing environment. Malaak Compton-Rock's husband Chris Rock, who was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, attended the Center as a child.
Said Malaak Compton-Rock, "Chris was raised in Brooklyn and his mother wanted a safe and positive place for her children to go to after-school and in the summer. Chris was even baptized at the Center and has very fond memories of his time there. He is the guiding force behind our commitment to bringing unique experiences to the kids and building strong and innovative programs."
Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service will also be a part of the upcoming CNN documentary "Black in America 2: Solutions" airing on CNN in July. Hosted by journalist Soledad O'Brien, CNN began documenting the youth during the selection process, covered them in South Africa, and have followed them through the Global Ambassadorship program. Regular blogs written by the children can be found on CNN.com as well.
The mission to New Orleans was made possible by the support of JetBlue Airways which provided pro bono and discount tickets to the Global Ambassadors and staff of The Angelrock Project. The airline supports the mission of Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service wholeheartedly, having also sponsored the Ambassadors advocacy mission to Washington, D.C. as well.
The Angelrock Project is currently planning two more Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service missions to South Africa in December 2009 and August 2010. For more information, please visit the organization's website at www.angelrockproject.com.
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The mission of St. Bernard Project is to remove barriers for families who wish to move back into their homes in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. St. Bernard is a uniquely tight-knit, working/middle class community adjacent to New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward and is arguably the area hardest hit by hurricane Katrina. The St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit, community-based organization carries out its mission through three primary programs: Rebuilding Program, Center for Wellness and Mental Health and Senior Housing Program. For more information, please visit www.stbernardparish.org or email Gretchen Weiland at Gretchen.Weiland@stbernardproject.org.
The Angelrock Project is an online e-village that promotes volunteerism, social responsibility, and sustainable change. Among its many elements, The Angelrock Project includes valuable information on how to volunteer, advice on making monetary or in-kind donations, links to life-changing non-profit organizations, recommends fair trade companies whose products sustain third-world artisans, and includes a discussion forum and blog. Additionally, The Angelrock Project features wonderful philanthropic individuals, grassroots volunteers and organizations on a monthly basis. The organization also serves as an umbrella organization for the six main causes that its founder, Malaak Compton-Rock works on full-time. The organization can be found at www.angelrockproject.com.
Special Note: Volunteer build days are Saturday, April 11; Monday, April 13 and Tuesday, April 14.
For press inquiries on the Journey for Change: Empowering Youth Through Global Service volunteer mission to New Orleans, please email Leslie Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-582-0700.
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