Lidieth Alvarez, 2011 iLEAP Fellow, Nicaragua
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I had no idea how much iLEAP would change me, inspire me, and allow me to grow in ways that I could not imagine. It was during my time in the iLEAP program that my passion to empower youth in my community really developed.
After completing the iLEAP fellowship, I worked hard to apply for grant money and founded Formación Fénix, a program for youth with a focus on education, environmentalism, and cultural preservation. I am from a town situated in a beautiful coastal area in the Rivas state. It is an area that, in recent years, has become very popular for international tourists. The development of luxury hotels and homes for foreigners created tension between community members, hotel managers, and tourists. Parents worried that the youth were losing traditional values when they were exposed to foreign influences. My objective is to work with the youth in our community to build pride in our traditional values, keep our town clean, and become aware of the opportunities a good education provides. I also wanted to ease tension between the community and hotel managers so I helped a negotiation in which one hotel agreed to build a new library in my town.
I am very proud of my community and I thank all of you who support iLEAP and make it possible for people like me to gain the reflection, knowledge, and network that leads to positive change.