Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative

Our Partners

Radio Campesina & Cesar Chavez Foundation

June, 2005: Cesar Chavez serves as faculty for 2nd Annual Summer Institute and participates in first planning session on VYLI Radio Show/Station with Josue Cruz and VYLI Board members.

August, 2005: The Cesar Chavez Foundation’s Radio Campesina hosts Josue to a training in Los Angeles and their studio in Bakersfield, CA. Cesar’s father, Anthony encourages VYLI to work with friends and colleagues at Corporation for Public Broadcasting to request support for VYLI to secure a radio station. During the last two years, we have worked towards addressing all of their recommendations (see Radio Initiative Work Plan).

Caribbean Artisan Network: 2006

VYLI are first youth to participate in annual Festival with artisans from ten Caribbean countries. They experienced quality craftsmanship; learned to appreciate the time involved in producing handicrafts and how to preserve their unique Caribbean culture and contribute to the economic well-being of the Island. VYLI youth served as true ambassadors for a new Vieques — making friends; creating partnerships; connecting Vieques with other Caribbean islands and inviting people to visit their beautiful island.

Barrios Unidos:

Barrios Unidos is the leading Latino youth leadership, violence prevention and job training program

• Nane Alejandrez, founder is Stone Soup Leadership Institute Board member
• BU Productions is the silk-screening business training Latino youth to a booming T-shirt business.
• Summer Institute 2004: Nane helped launch VYLI by conducting indigenous ceremony at Punta Ferro
• November, 2004: VYLI creates 1st entrepreneurship product: VYLI T-shirts conducts pilot
• March, 2005: Kutasha Silva conducts site-visit to BU Productions silk screening business, Santa Cruz
• April, 2007: Tania Cruz, VYLI Project Coordinator attends training/educational site visit in Santa Cruz

National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship:

NFTE has served over 65,000 young people who are replacing the dead-ends of drugs, crime and teenage pregnancy with a vigorous pursuit of success in the business world. NFTE is the #1 youth entrepreneur training organization This year, NFTE will serve 17,000 children in six US cities and in the United Kingdom, Belgium, India and Argentina – with startups in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

• Steve Mariotti, founder of the #1 entrepreneurship training organization; International Advisory Council of Stone Soup Leadership Institute
• Summer Institute 2004: NFTE alumni Jason Upshaw, 2nd Gears in Cambridge, MA served as faculty: training youth in bike repair skills and sharing his experience of creating his own business.
• Bike Initiative: inspired pilot program with the 4H Club of Vieques to collect and repair bikes.
• Cultural Arts Initiative: translated sections of NFTE book for workshops; curriculum in Spanish.
• May, 2005: Project coordinator and director participated in NFTE certification training in New York City.
• April, 2006: Project Coordinators Lynda Bayron & Betsy Ayala to NFTE certification training in New York City

VYLI’s Emerging Partners

Aspira Inc.: Founded by Puerto Rican educators in 1961, Aspira, Inc. has grown to become the third largest Latino organization in the U.S. with an annual budget of $58 million. The national nonprofit organization is dedicated to youth leadership development. They have received funding from major foundations like Annenburg, Ford and Kellogg foundations. Based in Washington D.C., they have 40 chapters in Puerto Rico. VYLI will be their first chapter in Vieques. We will request funds for a major demonstration project to integrate Aspira’s program with VYLI’s model and the Institute’s educational curriculum in Spanish Pan Y Vino Para El Camino.

AmeriCorps/VISTA: VYLI is the first VISTA program in Vieques. For the last 4 months, we have been recruiting bi-lingual candidates (ages 18 and up) from Vieques, Puerto Rico and U.S. to help VYLI in four areas: education, communication (radio-technology), resource development and sustainable development. VISTA members each receive a monthly stipend, health care benefits and a $4,500 educational stipend for college. These young people will serve for three years to create an infrastructure to ensure VYLI’s long-term success. We have received over 30 applications from very talented and committed young people who are eager to begin with VYLI. However in order to effectively manage these four people, VYLI needs to have its new director in place. Once we finalize our partnership with Aspira PR, we can then add them to VYLI staff at no cost to the organization.