Ellana Watson, Philadelphia YAP Graduate and Community College of Philadelphia Freshman is heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil to be part "Street Soccer World Cup: the Other World Cup." Young people from 24 countries are now arriving in Sao Paolo to participate in workshops, activities and a Street Soccer Tournament devoted to social inclusion, human rights, leadership development, collaboration and peaceful resolution to conflict.
The delegates represent various non-profits from 5 continents doing work in their respective countries to address issues such as exclusion, discrimination and violence.
“When I was 16 years old, I got into something that I knew would change my life but I didn't know in what way. It was my decision to make my negative fallout a positive uplift,” says Ellana regarding her referral to YAP following a fight at school that resulted in her involvement with probation.
“I came in the program angry, misunderstood yet outgoing,” she says. “And with the help of my advocates and the PYAP staff, they helped me to turn my negative actions and attitude into positive outcomes."
Not only did she successfully complete high school, she graduated a year early and is now off to Brazil for a trip she says she never dreamed would be a part of her involvement in YAP.
“I am currently in college and I believe this would be a great opportunity for me to have a better understanding of how different cultures live and function outside of what I know and even understand."
Ellana will be documenting her experiences in Brazil and will be sharing her experiences with other YAP youth upon her return to the U.S.
The US delegation Ellana is a part of is made up of young people from the International Youth Advocacy Federation (IYAF) member organizations Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. and Humanity Helping Sudan Project. IYAF members Youth Advocates Ghana and You-Net Ghana are working together as a Ghanaian delegation. Sierra Leone YAP is our third IYAF delegation.
“Thank you for the opportunity,” says Ellana “and I hope I will get the opportunity to represent our youth and Philadelphia Youth Advocate Program."
Best of luck and safe travels.