June 6, 2003

Outstanding Students Selected for the Las Californias Youth Leadership Program

The International Community Foundation (ICF) and its Baja California-based sister foundation, Fundación Internacional de la Comunidad (FIC) along with LEAD San Diego and the International Studies Project in San Diego (ISTEP) have launched the Las Californias Youth Leadership Program (LCYLP). Funded, in part, by the Rockefeller Foundation, the program is for high achieving high school juniors of Mexican descent from San Diego County and Tijuana to participate in a cross-border leadership development program over the next year.

Students were selected last month, and seven students are from Tijuana and six are from schools throughout the San Diego area. Together, the participants represent an impressive group of young, vibrant and ambitious students whose interests range from engaging in binational politics to exploring the non-profit sector. The students from San Diego include: Melissa Campos from Scripps Ranch High School, Nain Martinez and Areli Pérez from Castle Park High School, Sorayda Santos from Sweetwater High School, Rebecca Valenzuela from The Preuss School UCSD and Ricardo Rozen from Torrey Pines High School. Students from Tijuana include: Beatriz Virgen López and Melisa Peña Esqueda from CETYS Centro de Ensenanza Técnica y Superior, Jonathan Santiago Cuevas and Alejandro González García from CONALEP Tijuana 1, Hammurabi Rubio Parra from Lázaro Cárdenas Bachillerato Internaciónal, Yanin Saucedo Monroy from CETIS No. 58 and Marco Mendoza Blanco from CETIS No. 156.

Students enjoyed the special opportunity to meet one another at ICF’s first annual Gala in May. The evening provided the students a chance to share ideas, experiences and anticipations regarding the program. Students felt honored by the heartfelt introduction delivered by Yolanda S. Walther Meade and smiled graciously for the many cameras eager to capture the honorable moment.

From left to right 1st row: Melisa Peña, Beatriz Eugenia Virgen López, Sorayda Santos, Melissa Campos, Areli Pérez, Yanin Saucedo, Rebecca Valenzuela, Amy Carstensen (program coordinator)

2nd row: Marco Antonio Mendoza Blanco, Hammurabi Rubio Parra, Ricardo Rozen, Nain Martinez, Jonathan Daniel Santiago Cuevas.

At the LCYLP orientation on May 17th , students and parents came together to sort through the program details and learn more about specific components such as mentoring and Saturday seminars. Prominent community leaders have generously volunteered to act as mentors to the participants. Each student will receive an individual mentor with whom he or she we participate in three job shadowing days, ask for scholastic advice and share their adventures after trips to Mexico City and Washington D.C

On June 21, LCYLP will meet in the CETYS Universidad for our first Saturday seminar. The topic for the four hour session is “Understanding the Border” and will commence with a presentation by Victor Clark and conclude with a field trip of the US/MX Border. Mr. Clark’s background is highly diverse with most of his work focusing on protecting international human rights. The field trip will include an exploration of the border’s varied geography, the Maquiladora sector, the impact of the NAFTA treaty and the challenges of developing the region.

In August, the students will take a five-day trip to Mexico City, Mexico. For many of the students, the trip will be their first taste of international travel. Excursions to Los Pinos, El Museo de Bellas Artes and Teoti-huacan will introduce the students to the Mexico’s rich cultural history. In addition, students will be meeting with leading state and city officials including staff at the US Embassy, legislators in the Mexican Congress and the US Trade Representative to Mexico.

Overall, the goal of the program is to help students better understand the border region and encourage them to become future leaders.

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