Saulo, Neueli and Milo with me earlier this year.
Many of you are aware that I first arrived in Samoa back in 2009 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, where I taught English at a rural primary school until last December. I then returned to Samoa this year to volunteer for the Catholic Church, assisting with their Catholic youth bands.
During my two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I was fortunate to see each of my students develop and mature to become better students and better kids. Despite not having enough desks, chairs, or even a set of text books, they always tried hard; they came to school with smiles on their faces and eager to learn. When we first met, their views of the world were very narrow, their understanding about other places not as great. They had grown up on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, never having traveled. However, through our conversations I tried to spark their interests in this world, to ask questions, to dream for something bigger!
This past June, I felt God calling me to help them in a new way, to help them realize some of their new dreams! I was sitting in church when I started thinking about taking the three of them back to the United States for a one month visit when I return to there this December. In the days that followed, I worked on forming a program which would inspire, motivate and empower them. I know that their traveling to the United States would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them, and one that could help shape their futures.
However, from the beginning I have told God that if this is meant to be, He will have to help lead us through it. I am unable to provide for such a trip financially, yet I have faith that the money will come if it is meant to be.
Therefore, I am asking each of you to take a few minutes to read over my full project proposal, the Samoa Youth Empowerment Initiative, which I have copied below and consider making a donation to help make this trip possible for my three former students. If you are only able to give a little, please do so and know that it will make a difference. For those who can give more, your generosity is just as meaningful. With the application for the U.S. visas quickly approaching in October, I am asking that you make your donations as soon as possible. The visas will have a much better chance of being approved if sufficient funds are secured prior to the application being filed.
I have set up an online Paypal account where you can make a donation using your debit or credit card. When you send the gift, there is a space for you to type a message. I ask that in that space you provide me with your name and mailing address so that the boys can send you a card of thanks for your helping them on this project. It is your generosity which can make this program a reality for these three Samoans!
If for some unfortunate reason, the visas are denied, I want you to know that the money will instead be invested in the boys’ village on meaningful and sustainable projects, either in the school or on youth empowerment projects which I would help oversee.
Again, I thank you for your time, for your gifts and for your support! Please visit the blog in the weeks ahead to learn about our progress on this program.
HOW TO USE PAYPAL:
1. Go to paypal.com
2. Select the tab titled, “personal” and click on “send payment online.”
3. In the box titled, “To” put my email, email@example.com
In the box titled “from,” put your email. Select an amount you wish to donate and a currency. The bubble titled “Goods” should be selected, leave that and click the yellow box, “continue.”
5. You will then get a confirmation page that your paypal account has been created! Review the amount you are donating and then scroll down to the second portion of the page, under the blue bar where it says “Email to Recipient.” In the box titled, “message” type your name and address so that the boys can send you a thank you note! Under the message box click the yellow box titled, “send money.”
6. You will then get a page that should say “money has been sent.” Click on the yellow box titled, “Go to my Account” and at the top of that page, click on “Log Out” to safely log out of your new paypal account.
That’s all there is to it, it should take less than 5 minutes! If you have questions, email me and I can help you through it. Thanks again!
Project Title: Samoan Youth Empowerment Initiative (SYEI)
Project Coordinator & Contact Info:
• Kyle Kincaid
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Total Amount Requested: $7,265.62 USD
Project Timeline: December 15, 2012 – January 12, 2013
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa, having taught English at a rural primary school, I am now making an effort to promote a youth empowerment initiative for underprivileged, rural, Samoans. I intend to have three of my former male students, ages 14 to 15, travel back to the United States this December. There, they will live with my family and me in Michigan for one month, while taking part in several cross-cultural and volunteer activities which otherwise would not be available to them in Samoa.
In addition to the Samoan students learning about American culture and the importance of volunteerism, the Americans they meet and associate with will learn about Samoan culture and customs, thus allowing both parties to develop a more global perspective.
The Samoan students will be very active: visiting a local elementary school to make presentations to their American counterparts, volunteering their time at a community center for students with physical and mental disabilities, and assisting local churches with volunteer programs within the community. I am also hoping for them to have the opportunity to meet with local business people and trained professionals such as doctors and nurses, in an effort to broaden their outlook on possible career opportunities for their futures. Students will also participate in a culture night where community members will be invited and both Samoan an American culture will be on display. The evening will include dances, foods, games and presentations including pictures and videos.
Samoa’s national languages are Samoan and English, with most of the National Exams in the upper grade levels being administered solely in English. The government in recent years has placed great emphasis on students becoming proficient in English, as they recognize it as the global language which will help its citizens to better compete for jobs in this competitive global economy.
My three former students, live in a rural village, and attend public schools that lack proper resources, such as text books, technology and even sufficient desks and chairs. They have faced several educational challenges which seem to compete against their own natural, God given talents. Nation-wide test results also show that students living in rural villages perform at a much lower level academically than their counterparts living in or near the capital city.
Each of these three young men have made significant progress in the past couple of years: two of them earning awards for most improved student of the year within their class, and the other receiving the highest test scores at his school on the National Examination. This cross cultural, youth empowerment opportunity will allow them to build on those talents they already have begun to develop.
By exposing them to a new culture, introducing them to new career possibilities and teaching them the importance of volunteerism, they will return to Samoa with a more focused outlook for their futures and thus allow them to become better leaders within their families, villages, churches, and ultimately their country.
Project Goals and Objectives:
The Goal of the project is for three Samoan youth to take part in cross-cultural experiences and volunteer initiatives in the United States. As a result, this will help them to broaden their English skills, develop sensitivities towards another culture, inspire them towards higher academic learning, and lead them to better professions within the workplace.
The Objectives are:
1. 3 Samoan students will return to Samoa in January of 2013 from the United States and show an increased awareness to those of another culture, by conducting a 1 day seminar and presentation for the youth of their village, to be assisted in preparation by their pastors.
2. 3 Samoan students and the youth participants of their seminar, will together, with assistance from their pastors, develop, design and conduct a 1 day community outreach activity which will promote community engagement and civic responsibility.
3. 3 Samoan students will demonstrate higher English proficiencies on an oral exam to be given by a trained language professional from the U.S. Peace Corps office in Samoa, both prior to and after the students’ program in the United States.
There are 4 primary beneficiaries of the project, as follows:
• The 3 rural Samoan students who will travel to the United States for the cross-cultural and volunteer opportunities, thus allowing them to build a series of transferable skills which they will be able to utilize throughout the rest of their education as well as throughout their future careers.
• The youth participants from the village, who will engage in the community project and seminar, following the students’ program in the United States.
• The pastors who will assist in leading the youth seminar and outreach village program, thus making them a sustainable partner for more youth empowerment initiatives within their community.
• The Americans who will learn from the Samoans about a new culture and develop new ways of thinking and acting to be better members of their local and global communities.
At present, funds need to be raised to support the financial obligations of the project. Following, is a spreadsheet which highlights the expenses we will need to provide for the program.
Expense Total (USD)
U.S. Visas $480.00
Traveling money (en route) $120.00
Transportation (gasoline) $300.00
Toll Road Fees $50.00
Health Insurance $108.00
Warm clothes & shoes $300.00
Museums/extra- curricular events $300.00
Total Amount: $7,265.62
• 3: Begin distributing project proposal for Samoan Youth Empowerment Initiative.
• 6-30: Prepare U.S. Visa applications and meet with students and their parents to secure proper paperwork and prepare for visa interviews.
• 1: Await announcement of visa interview date for this month.
• 8-30: Wait on word from the U.S. Embassy about visas and then purchase airplane tickets once visas are secured. Also organize with partners of the program in the United States to prepare for students’ arrival in December.
• 1-15: Meet with pastors in students’ village to train them in possible community projects they will conduct with the students following their program in the United States.
• 1-30: Continue to work with program partners in the United States to develop details of the program.
• 30: Students take first oral English exam from language teacher.
• 15: Depart with students from Samoa and travel to Constantine, Michigan.
• 15-31: Samoa Youth Empowerment Initiative is in progress.
• 1-9: Samoa Youth Empowerment Initiative in progress.
• 10: Students depart from Chicago, Illinois for Samoa.
• 20: Students take for the second time, the oral English exam.
• Students partner with their local pastors in Samoa to prepare for presentation of their experiences in the States to deliver to the youth of their community. Together with that same group and the pastors, they implement a youth outreach program for the community addressing a local community need or issue.
Neueli, Saulo and Milo climbing the mountain near their house in 2011.
INTERESTED IN HOW I MET MILO, SAULO & NEUELI?
Read the blog below if you'd like to know more about how I know each of these young men. The blog was originally posted on February 16, 2012.