Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative

VYLI 2020 Report: Executive Summary

Imagine what could happen if
we worked together with young people of Vieques
to make their dreams come true.
We could build a new Vieques
A sustainable global village – a new humanity to inspire the world.
We invite you to share your time, talents, and resources.
Time is of the essence.

The Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative (VYLI) mission is to train young and emerging leaders to build a new Vieques. Founded in 2003, VYLI has created a demonstration project with the Stone Soup Leadership Institute.

In 2007, VYLI’s college youth embarked on the ambitious project of creating VYLI’s 2020 Report on their vision for Vieques. Since they will be the leaders in the year 2020, they want to help plan for their island’s future. This summer they interviewed community leaders, surfed the Internet for innovative solutions, prepared power point presentations and presented them at VYLI’s Youth Summit in July. On July 31, they made their first presentation to government officials in San Juan. On August 31, they will present them to their community at a Vieques Town Meeting. We are pleased the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has chosen VYLI’s 2020 Report as a Case Study. The 2020 Report has been written as a first step to address the need for a vision and to demonstrate leadership. It is the first step towards the development of a business plan to attract investors and a grant proposal for the demonstration project. We hope this report will inform, inspire and engage people to join as partners, funders and investors to build a new Vieques.

I. Our Vision: Vieques 2020: Creating a Sustainable Island

• What is my 2020 Vision: for my life and for my island?
• Kutasha: preserve our culture by being entrepreneurs
• Tania: discover Vieques beauty and market as eco-tourism destination
• Kimberly: create a sustainable green economy
• Eliasib: train Viequenses as professionals to implement 2020 Vision
• Josue: work together to preserve our land so we can afford to live in Vieques

II. Our Goals

• Build awareness of Vieques: past, present and future
• Acknowledge Vieques progress and assess our limitations
• Communicate: Vieques urgently needs a mini-Marshall Plan now!
• Connect Vieques with the global community who are looking for models for building a better world
• Secure support from local, state, national, global partners, funders, investors to execute 2020 Vision
• Demonstrate the power that young people can have to plan for and help create their future

III. Our Strategy: VYLI Building can be a showcase for 2020 vision with partners, funders and investors.

Strategy 1: Preserve Our Cultural Arts by Being Entrepreneurs
Strategy 2: Conserve and Create Alternative Energy
Strategy 3: Market Vieques as a Eco-Tourism Destination
Strategy 4: Build Green Economy
Strategy 5: Work Together to Develop a Green Island

IV. Implications of 2020 Report

• Vieques youth are the last Latinos to realize their independence; the first to have a vision for 2020.
• In 2020, they will be the leaders of their island.
• In 2020, the majority of U.S. will be Latinos.
• It is important for all youth leaders to envision their future so we can build a more sustainable world.

VYLI 2020 Report Overview

VYLI’s college youth developed VYLI 2020 report to address the island’s socio-economic crisis and a vision for 2020 with innovative solutions. The 2020 Report integrates their best thinking and hands-on experience about what needs to done to rebuild their island. This is the first time that young people have created a vision for their island. In their hearts and souls, these resourceful people want to find a way to fulfill their dreams; honor their Latin culture; preserve their indigenous traditions; and ensure their freedom for generations to come. They want to renew themselves and strengthen their Island’s fragile ecosystem. They want to provide for their families, create opportunities for their children and a prosperous future for their people. Young people want to build their own dreams and plan for their future. Vieques needs significant and strategic support – mini-Marshall plan – to transition to the global economy. The need far exceeds the community’s abilities to respond. There is a dire need for basic infrastructure in Vieques: social services, education, economic development. We hope this 2020 Report will lead to the development of a much-needed Marshall Plan for Vieques.

Strategy 1: Preserve Our Cultural Arts by being Entrepreneurs

• Cultural and performing arts: music, dance effect on positive youth and community health
• Entrepreneurship to support cultural diversity: collecting indigenous seed for handicrafts
• VYLI youth entrepreneurs at 3rd annual Caribbean Artisan Festival, Tortola, BVI
• Innovative solutions: Educational Cinema, Caribbean Musical/Artisan Festival

Strategy 2: Conserve and Create Alternative Energy

• Energy Overview: challenges and opportunities
• Climate change/global warming and its affect on Vieques and Caribbean islands
• Ways we can conserve energy: alternative light bulbs, Reuse, Recycle and Renew
• Alternative energy solar, wind: from simple to systemic solutions (net-metering)
• Water: from healthy lifestyles to global water issues
• Innovative solutions: rooftop gardens to cool homes; designing green buildings
• Windmills: Vieques can generate enough energy for the entire island + sell to the grid

Strategy 3: Market Vieques as an Eco-Tourism Destination

• Overview: impact of increased tourism on the sustainability islands like of Vieques
• Ways to educate and engage tourists to preserve and protect the islands
• Preservation of historical island landmarks: Bio-Bay, mangroves, Punta Farro, Punta Vaca
• Reforestation: Seed collection and tree planting to preserve/ensure diversity of species
• Mangrove and Sea Turtle Preservation and impact on bio-diversity
• Overview of indigenous species/birds diversification and preservation
• Innovative solutions: market to educated eco-tourists; attract investors in green economy

Strategy 4: Build a Sustainable Green Economy

• Economy overview: consumerism; the psychology of money: capitalism and debt cycle
• Ways to reduce consumerism: recycle, reuse and renew
• Ways small businesses can help educate and preserve the environment
• Healthy lifestyle: Growing your own food and bulk buying/shipping.
• Investments for innovative solutions: business, government, technology — e-commerce.

Strategy 5: Work Together to Develop a Green Island

• Overview of reports on Vieques: Estudios Tecnicos (2004), U.S. Fish & Wildlife plan
• Family land: preserve and maximize titles with gardens and tree planting
• Preservation of endangered environmental land areas: e.g. mangroves
• Real estate development: issues/concerns/educational strategies
• Resort development: issues/concerns/ educational strategies
• Innovative solutions: Eco-Resorts, Multi-purpose land use, Land Bank (MV), SF Presidio