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“I know now that I am able to do anything I want in life and I have a voice—especially being a small, Hispanic young woman.”

– Vianeli Garcia, Youth Empowerment Program Alumni

The World Vision Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) targets vulnerable youth who possess leadership potential but lack opportunities to develop it in a positive way. In a dynamic, year-long program, World Vision helps local youth learn about making a positive change in their community through advocacy. Youth leaders like Vianeli Garcia are using the tools from World Vision and its YEP program to influence and create change in her community. Vianeli was able to find her “voice” in her poverty-stricken community in New York and make policy recommendations to government officials while mobilizing others to support efforts to better her community. She created community service projects to get other youth off the streets and use their time to give back, making her Washington Heights neighborhood a better place.

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Through participation in YEP, teens have the opportunity to receive college scholarships. The college education that youth like Vianeli receives will help them develop into the new generation of leaders in the US. We applaud the leadership these vulnerable youth display, creating real change in their community and eliminating poverty in the US.

Microsoft YouthSpark continues to help youth like Vianeli realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more on what you can do by visiting the Microsoft YouthSpark micro-giving portal, Give for Youth.