WYA Summer Interns Respond to “Why WYA?”


The sun is scorching, classes are over, and warm air has made its way to New York City this month as it welcomes summer. Young people are making their way out of the country, going to the beach, visiting parks and whatnots! However, despite the other opportunities for the summer, a number of pro-active and self-driven young people have chosen to dedicate their summer break to contributing and committing to the work of the World Youth Alliance.

This year, the World Youth Alliance Headquarters welcomes 12 interns for the second batch of the 2016 Global and North America Internship program in New York City.  Hailing from Canada, Croatia, Lebanon, Mexico, Switzerland, the Philippines and the United States of America, these individuals share their thoughts on choosing to spend their summer lending WYA a hand, on what it means to be global change makers and how their involvement in the internship program at WYA can help them attain their vision for the youth and for the world.

The Internship Program is a three-month program held in three batches every year at the six WYA offices around the world. The program provides opportunities for selected individuals who are passionate in upholding the ideals of WYA to learn and develop a deeper understanding of the human person, manage projects that reflect the organization’s advocacy, and represent WYA in various occasions and events.

And now, the question is “Why WYA?”

_DSC6126_zps51xh4zrh“There will be a lot of chance to travel, but participating in WYA, with hands-on experience of working with a non profit organization, is limited and precious,” Yurui shares. Yurui Xie, who comes from Chongqing China, is currently pursuing a B.A degree, majoring in political science at Hofstra University. She believes that “participation is the best contribution” and it is the first step towards becoming global change makers in today’s society. When asked about how the internship at WYA can help her attain her vision for the future, she humbly responds, “WYA provides an international perspective that allows me to consider issues related to youth in a big picture that is more objectively and comprehensively.”

_DSC6128_zpspvxtakvzAnother one of our interns is Annamica Reding and for her, “to serve an organization that I love and believe in, develop a deeper understanding of the human person, and meet other people from all over the world that are also interested in advocacy, education, and culture is the best way I can imagine spending my summer.” Annamica is a rising senior at the University of Dallas where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in International Studies. “For many years now, I have felt strongly called to two things in life: to be an advocate, a voice of hope and reason for those that need it most, and to serve children and families in some way,” she shares. When asked about the internship, she responds, “interning with WYA is allowing me to discern the many ways in which I can serve families around the world, and it is helping me to develop my capacity to be a voice for the dignity of the human person.”

1966301_287714668095519_2758984443119211345_oBr. John Thomas Fisher, OP was born and raised in a small town in South Carolina. He is currently studying for the priesthood at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C and he also shares with us his thoughts on his involvement with the internship program. “I hope to gain more experiences in understanding the needs and desires of the upcoming generation and to respond to these through my future preaching and ministry as I spend the summer with WYA,” he shares. Br. John Thomas is currently studying to be a priest of Jesus Christ and he shares that saying Mass, hearing confessions, and attending to the needs of the people of God are his plans to change the world.

_DSC6123_zpsxshgffppAna Sylvia Espinosa de los Monteros hails all the way from Mexico.  She has been a member of WYA since 2012 and has finished her regional internship at the WYA Latin America office the following year. “WYA is giving me all! I got to travel to New York to live a once in a life time experience while I develop my understanding on human dignity,” she says when asked about why she chose WYA. “Young people here are so inspiring and I’m glad I’m using my vacation to grow as a human being,” she adds. Sylvia likes teaching and she feels that being a change maker means standing up for what is right. On her internship with WYA, she mentions that, “[It] has showed me the path that will lead me to understanding human nature and the power of determined young voices.”

Another intern believes that every person can have an impact on our society. Cecile Carron, from Switzerland, graduated with a Bachelor in Business focusing on Hospitality Management. After having the opportunity to travel to different countries, she decided to take a break and devote her time to interning with the World Youth Alliance. “I wanted to work in a nonprofit organization and the summer season was definitely the best time for me,” she shares. “Being involved with the internship program is proof that real change can happen and if young people won’t get involved to change the world, no one will do it for them,” she continues. For her, “solidarity is the best way to reach these goals.”

Giorgio Khoury, from Lebanon and a past WYA Middle East regional intern, believes that that the summer internship program at WYA is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” As a senior student in Computer Sciences at Notre Dame University, he realizes that aside from technological communication, human communication is important and that it is a unifying language. Giorgio believes that, “living with international young leaders in an international city will enhance my perspective about the power of the youth in the world.”

_DSC6124_zpsfzpjdmjy“I chose to spend my summer at WYA because it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Jordan shares about her thoughts on the internship. “WYA is a place for young people from all over the world to come together to discuss and collaborate on issues facing the world today,” she continues. Jordan Cannella, who comes from Boulder, Colorado, is currently a senior at Benedictine College where she is pursuing a degree in Theology with a minor in Art. Being one of the interns accepted in this batch she thinks that, “my involvement in the internship program will help me by equipping me to be a more effective leader and agent for change in my community.” Jordan enjoys traveling and her love of travel combined with a passion for truth and beauty has resulted in her desire to work towards change through selfless ways.

_DSC6121_zpskymds1fcFor Joanne Chun, “being a global change maker means not only acknowledging the problems in my local and international community but doing my part to make the world a better place.” Joanne comes from Toronto, Canada and is currently studying towards a double major in Finance and Global China Studies at New York University. “I chose to spend the summer with WYA because I was inspired to do something meaningful with my time,” she replies when asked about WYA. Joanne is passionate about working in student government and giving back to her local community. She hopes to have a diplomatic career in the future which is why she believes that, “by exposing myself to a diversity of experiences such as advocacy and community involvement, I believe I will gain a more cosmopolitan perspective of the world. “

_DSC6133_zpsjcz6svakAna Mariela Gonzales hails from the Philippines and has finished her regional internship at the WYA Asia Pacific region just last year. “I don’t think there’s a better way of spending summer than growing in a community with people who have the same drive and passion as I do when it comes to recognizing and protecting the idea of the human person,” she shares. “Why WYA? Why not WYA?” she adds. Yel is currently an incoming sophomore student pursuing Interdisciplinary Studies with Psychology and Communication tracks at the Ateneo de Manila University and she devotes herself to helping people attain their full potentials. For her, “the internship program in WYA is a training ground that can equip me with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to be able to impact culture and society.”

_DSC6131_zpseo1cu3ioAccording to another intern, “an internship with WYA gives me opportunities I would never find elsewhere because through WYA, I am able to build upon my double major of Africana and Philosophy in a way I could never find elsewhere.” MaryGrace Levis has lived in Tanzania, East Africa, while working at a hospital run by the Daughters of Mary in Dar es Salaam and is currently pursuing a dual major of Africana Studies and Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. MaryGrace feels that being a change maker is to be a voice defending the intrinsic human dignity of the human person in a world that consistently devalues and deemphasizes this intrinsic dignity. “I believe the youth of the world deserve better. We want sustainable solutions that see the human person as full of potential and agency for change. This internship program endows me with the tools and experiences I need to be able to effectively uphold these ideals in both local and international communities,” she adds.

Lea Potocar, from Croatia, enjoys travelling, meeting new people and exploring new cultures. “A summer with WYA represents not only a chance to get to know others but also myself,” she shares. Lea graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Catholic University of Croatia and is currently continuing her studies to gain a Master’s Degree in Psychology at the same University. “I believe the internship program will help me see the world through someone else’s eyes, to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while – by being a part of a multicultural family for a few months. I’m looking forward to discovering the beauty of the diversity of cultures and learning how to recognize the same human dignity in all of them,” she shares her view about the internship.

“After a friend told me about her internship at WYA, I knew that was how I wanted to spend my summer since it sounded like such a great experience to connect with other young people from around the world and to work together to accomplish things that would make the future better,” Danielle Schmalz shares about spending her summer with WYA. Danielle is in the process of earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and French at the State University of New York at Geneseo. “To me, being a global change maker means to constantly analyze our society and to ask ourselves how we can improve the world we live in; then it takes a commitment to accomplish that vision,” she shares. Danielle is passionate about the issues of human trafficking, refugee rights, and women’s rights and she feels that, “my involvement in the internship program will help extend my knowledge on and passion for human rights and dignity, while continuing to develop my advocacy and communication skills,” she adds.

WYA invites pro-active and self-driven young people (under age 30) who possess a strong desire to defend and promote the intrinsic dignity of the person and is committed in creating a positive and lasting impact in society to apply for WYA’s Internship Program. Click here to learn more about the requirements and schedule.

It is through your generous contribution that we are able to empower such young people to achieve new heights and discover new potentials. And it is our hope that you continue to help us do the same. Give WYA a gift today or contact our regional offices to make a donation. Your contribution helps us continue to build a better world.

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