As Fall approaches, the Youth Opportunity (YO) program is transitioning from one cohort to another. Thanks to International Youth Foundation programming, YO Ambassadors like Vianey Delgado are leaving the program well-equipped to tackle next steps.

“What I've learned from being a YO Ambassador is that you are your own leader,” Vianey says. Ryah Klima feels similarly, saying, “My experience in the Youth Opportunity Ambassadors program was unforgettable. I was able to interact with people who gave me valuable advice about many things, such as mental health in the workplace. I was able to complete leadership modules which benefited me in many ways.”

The outgoing cohort of the Youth Opportunity Ambassadors and the Global Youth Council included thirty-two participants from seven states and thirteen countries. For four months, the Fall 2021 cohort of the YO Ambassadors and the Global Youth Council participated in pre-employment training hosted by the International Youth Foundation in partnership with McDonald’s Corporation. Throughout the program, the YO Ambassadors and Global Youth Council attended four career panels, gained access to SOAR Leadership training, and participated in public speaking workshops. For these young people, the experience culminated with a virtual Youth Opportunity Summit, where they led a panel discussion and networked with IYF and McDonald’s stakeholders.

Now, IYF and McDonald’s are eager to introduce YO programming to a new group of promising young people.

Hailing from across the country, the Fall 2022 cohort of YO Ambassadors is globally minded, curious, and focused on making a positive impact in the communities they serve. They are parents, students, and soon-to-be graduates with a wide array of passions including traveling, business development, and the arts.

We recently spoke with some of the new YO Ambassadors about their passions, favorite foods, and plans for the future. While their interests are varied, this cohort shares an excitement for the YO Program––they’re eager to explore career opportunities, learn from and about their peers, and develop tools to assist them with their next endeavors.

We hope you enjoy getting to know this multifaceted group of young people.

Telia Cobb

Favorite Food: Tacos!

Five Years From Now… I see myself as a successful business owner and nurse.

Fun Fact: Something unique about me is that I own a luxury picnic company!

Alma Figueroa

Favorite Activities: I love trying out DIY projects, crocheting, and roller-skating.

Five Years From Now… I see myself getting my master’s degree.

Fun Fact: I have a ferret named Pabu.

Aileen Martinez

Favorite Food: I love Korean barbeque.

Five Years From Now… I hope to be a high school history teacher at a Title 1 school.

Fun Fact: I enjoy singing and volunteer work. And, if I could travel anywhere in the world, I would like to go to Morocco.

LaRae Flores

Favorite Food: Crab legs are the best!

Five Years From Now… I plan on becoming a CNA then a RN.

Fun Fact: Staying in one place forever is not in my life plans. I plan on traveling the whole world.

David San Lorenzo

Favorite Food: Definitely Hawaiian pizza.

Five Years From Now… I see myself finishing my degree and maybe starting another, traveling the country or maybe the world, and learning about new cultures.

Fun Fact: I’m curious and always ready for adventures.

Ashlyn Richardson

Favorite Food: Seafood, fried chicken, and fruit.

Five Years From Now… I see myself as a college graduate with a degree in athletic training and beginning graduate school.

Fun Fact: I enjoy working with groups that help empower others to succeed.

Kayla Kelleybrew

Favorite Food: Pasta!

Five Years From Now… I see myself being a compounding pharmacist.

Fun Fact: I love riding horses.

Ashanti Williams

Favorite Activities: Going to the batting cage and watching documentaries.

Five Years From Now… I see myself with my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I also want to travel the world, or maybe even become a detective. Wherever I am in five years, I hope I’m happy and on a path to success.

Fun Fact: I play softball and have been playing since first grade.

Nakeda Raggs

Five Years From Now… I want to be a business owner.

Fun Fact: I was an athlete in high school and I recently worked at a daycare.

Taylor Grant

Favorite Food: Dumplings.

Favorite Activities: Film photography, painting, reading, and making social media content.

Five Years From Now… I see myself as a fresh graduate of San Francisco State University and moving to China to become a Media Marketer.

Damien Blakely

Favorite Food: Chicken, burgers, fries.

Fun Fact: I love to laugh and have fun. I love to make other people laugh and smile to help brighten up their day.

Five Years From Now… I hope to find myself in a school teaching. Teaching is my passion and if it weren’t for teachers in my life I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Guadalupe Ibarra Gomez

Favorite Activities: Reading books and spending time outside with my family.

Five Years From Now… I see myself in an organization representing community rights.

Fun Fact: I like listening to documentaries while baking cakes.

Daniel Dabney

Favorite Activities: I love advocacy work and recently did advocacy work centered around housing/homelessness issues.

Five Years From Now… I hope to become a therapist someday.

Fun Fact: I truly love self-expression and that is evident in the many personal writing projects I do in my free time.

Ryah Klima (returning Ambassador)

Favorite Activities: Traveling, reading, and listening to true crime podcasts.

Fun Fact: I am currently the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) National Career Association President. I was the first person to be elected to this position, and it’s such an honor.

Starlit Sanchez

Favorite Activities: Skateboarding, swimming, and gaming.

Five Years From Now… I see myself successful in the career I have chosen and starting a family.

Fun Fact: I like traveling and exploring.

Daniella Osorio

Five Years From Now… I hope to have a double major in business administration and public administration.

Fun Fact: I work full-time as a career coach and I love working with people.

Tony Reyes (returning Ambassador)

Favorite Food: My favorite food is sushi, but only the cooked stuff.

Favorite Activities: Playing basketball and watching movies.

Fun Fact: I hope to become a professional wrestler in the WWE.

From achieving their career goals, to learning about new cultures while traveling the world, to becoming business owners, we’re confident this group of YO Ambassadors is on the path to success. Stay tuned for updates on how IYF programming is helping to prepare the Fall 2022 cohort of Youth Opportunity Ambassadors for their next steps.

Learn more about the Youth Opportunity pre-employment initiative and the partnership between IYF and McDonald's.