Alisha Kalyniak – Alumni’s Sustained Passion in Working with Youth Takes Her to Mexico

During my 10-week placement in Ghana, which took place from September to November 2012, I had the opportunity to work with youth at the YMCA Vocational Training Institute. Along with my fellow volunteers, I facilitated workshops with the students, designed and implemented a “train the trainer” curriculum, as well as worked in partnership with the students and teachers to plan, coordinate and execute a World AIDS Day event. It was an amazing experience which sparked my desire to continue working with youth in the education sector.

Most recently, I have been working with World Vision Canada as an Education Intern in rural Mexico. I have been in Mexico for more then a month now, and I credit YCI for helping me develop the skills I needed to get to where I am now.

Alisha at the Pyramids of Teotihaucan

Alisha at the Pyramids of Teotihaucan

I am currently living in the municipality of Copainalá, in the region of Chiapas (Southern Mexico). Chiapas is extremely beautiful. Being here has completely altered my preconceptions of Mexico. I’m constantly surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. It is so lush and green here, that I feel as though I am living inside a painting, and it takes my breath away every day.

Also, I have the privilege of working in three different municipalities; Copainalá, Ocotepec and Bochil. The education system is fairly poor in Mexico, especially in rural areas. I am working with World Vision on two projects within the education system, a reading project and a tutoring project targeting children of 6-12 years old. These projects are meant to help keep the kids on track and at the level they should be at. I have had the opportunity to go to several different communities so far to see these projects firsthand. It has been amazing to interact with the children, and watch them excited to learn and participate.

Community Visit to Sarabia, Chiapas

Community Visit to Sarabia, Chiapas

After my internship, I hope to continue pursuing positions overseas working with youth. I will always remember my time in Ghana fondly. While in Ghana for my YCI placement, I learned a lot from the YCI staff, and also from the students & teachers at the YMCA Vocational Training Institute.

Alisha Kalyniak, Youth Leader, Ghana 2012

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