Through Community Engagement Exchange Program, Global Fellows Work Alongside Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Community-Based Youth Justice and Neighborhood Violence Prevention Staff - Article Details

Through Community Engagement Exchange Program, Global Fellows Work Alongside Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. Community-Based Youth Justice and Neighborhood Violence Prevention Staff


Through its third Community Engagement Exchange (CEE) cohort, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. is giving emerging international leaders a unique opportunity to see how community-based youth justice, child welfare, and neighborhood violence prevention alternatives work.

A national nonprofit in 35 states and Washington, D.C., YAP is the leading nonprofit provider of services that reduce the overreliance on youth incarceration, residential care, and group home foster placements. YAP is in its 50th year of implementing its unique YAPWrap™ individual and family wraparound services model to transform public systems to become more effective and equitable. The nonprofit also has international partnerships in Australia, Guatemala, Ireland, and Sierra Leone.

Participants in the Community Engagement Exchange Program conducting civil society practicum are working alongside YAP staff members in Austin, Houston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. For 12 weeks, the international fellows will learn firsthand knowledge and experience as part of their assignment to collaborate  with YAP on civil society initiatives and prepare to undertake community engagement projects in their home countries. Among the fellows are Ngor Jacob Garang from S. Sudan (Austin), Omar Ihsan from Malaysia (Houston), Shams Sadigova from Azerbaijan (Chicago), Wiramon “Poupee” Sangsuwan from Thailand (Chicago) and Nekisha Sorias from Trinidad and Toboga (Philadelphia).

We are pleased to welcome fellows from the Community Engagement Exchange program again this year to our YAP offices throughout the country,” said YAP CEO and President Gary Ivory. “We look forward to learning from them and for them to learn from YAP. This partnership shows our commitment to capacity building and transforming systems to become more effective and equitable.”

CEE Program participants are a dynamic global network of innovators working with communities to address critical 21st Century issues. CEE equips dedicated visionaries with the expertise, skills, and resources to develop multisector approaches and build healthy and engaged communities in over 100 countries. A transformational leadership development experience, CEE is a year-long program designed to enable civil society leaders, ages 21-28, to harness the power of networks, relationships, and information for the public good, specifically on issues related to civic dialogue and peacebuilding, open and participatory government, women and gender, resilience and sustainable development, and youth engagement.

“YAP is delighted to have been part of the Community Engagement Exchange Program since its inception and to now be welcoming a third cohort of fellows. Between excellent YAP, Inc. hosts, four geographical sites, and a variety of YAP program areas represented-including community-based safety, behavioral health, youth justice, and YAP's Voice initiative - there is rich learning and exchange for this most recent cohort of international leaders,” said YAP Director of International Development Diana Matteson. “And as Executive Vice President Lynette Connor remarked after welcoming fellows in Philadelphia, the reciprocal learning opportunity for the YAP community is a wonderful benefit giving us increased knowledge, understanding, and new perspectives from the fellows.”

YAP Philadelphia staff with support from their colleagues in Delaware and Delaware County, Pa. recently welcomed the fellows at a special reception that included program participants, YAP Board Member Ellana Watson, YAP MidAtlantic Region/Southeast Executive Vice President Lynette Connor and Philadelphia/Delaware Regional Director Renise Welbon.

The CEE Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX. For more information about YAP, visit Learn more about the CEE Program on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the CEE website.

Photo: Fellow Nekisha Sorias, who is from Trinidad & Tobago, is working alongside YAP staff in Philadelphia. 



Media/Press Inquiries

Ryanne Persinger,
National Communications Director

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