Lynn teens win once in a lifetime trip to India through Youth Venture

September 3, 2014

Teen Scene United Way Youth Venture Team one of two national teams to travel to India this fall for “Be the Change” youth conference

Four high school students from Lynn who created the environmental group Young Environmentalist Leaders of Lynn (YELL) through their association with the Teen Scene program at Family & Children’s Service in Lynn (FCS) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s Youth Venture program, have won the experience of a lifetime – the opportunity to travel to India this September to represent the USA at the “Be the Change” youth leadership conference in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

indiatripgroupThe trip was awarded through a partnership between United Way, Ashoka’s Youth Venture, and Design for Change, in which the Youth Venture teams competed in a video challenge for the opportunity to travel to attend the Conference.  During the trip, students will connect with like-minded youth from other countries, learn new skills to further their own venture projects, and visit the Taj Mahal.  The announcement of YELL as the winning team was made at United Way’s Youth Venture Talent Showcase at the Microsoft NERD Center in in May.

Neil Daniel, 18, Jama Aroni, 16, Eli Johnson, 16, and Jada Macdonald, 17, all from Lynn, took part in the competition showcasing their newly created organization YELL – Young Environmentalist Leaders of Lynn. Featuring a video they made about their efforts, the four students, along with their mentor, FCS Americorps Member Aquila Browne, presented their video and performed an original song at an End of Year Showcase organized by United Way Youth Venture. The FCS students, along with a group of students from Dallas, Texas, were chosen as the 2014 DFC USA Ambassadors to the worldwide conference in India in September.

“The students created the group themselves,” said Brown, who guided them through the planning process and helped create the video. The students recruited other youth, printed up T-shirts with their logo YELL, and began organizing for 2 clean-up days on Saturday, June 21st at the Lynn Common and again on July 12th at the Lynn Beach.

“This youth venture project is an excellent way to create new social entrepreneurs,” Brown said. “The students were dedicated from the beginning; they knew what their vision was and how to execute their campaign. I’m just proud to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.”

“We’re so proud of our Young Environmental Leaders of Lynn and thrilled to be able to offer them the chance to travel to India and meet with young people from across the globe,” said Michael Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and MerrimackValley.  “The Youth Venture program is an incredible opportunity for youth to channel their creativity and desire to better their communities, and it is always inspiring to see the innovative projects that they produce every year.”

Teen Scene is an enrichment program for youth ago 10-18 to participate in after-school and summer programs at Family & Children’s Service on North Common Street in Lynn. The program includes homework help, Digital Photography, Lego Robotics, Sports and Fitness as well as other fun activities.

For more information about Youth Venture visit