LIBERIA: YES Welcomes U.S. Department of State-funded CCI Visiting Fellows

(L-R) Clayton Louis Ferrara, Justin “Jaybird” Farrow, and Reginald Burroughs III

The Youth Exploring Solutions (YES) and its affiliate IDEAS For Us – Liberia is expected to host three young Americans who are visiting Liberia as part of the U.S. Department of State-funded Collaboration for Community Impact Grant Program (CCI) administered by the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX).

YES is an accredited non-for-profit, and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization.

The visiting fellows will facilitate the IDEAS Hive, an interdisciplinary, inter-generational community Think + Do Tank designed to educate the public about sustainability and develop their ideas into local action projects.  It is designed to discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and environmental solutions.

While in Liberia, the young Americans will visit seven (7) counties, namely: Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong, and Nimba counties.

According to a YES release,  during the visit, the delegation is expected to create and implement a framework of metrics and key performance indicators that serve as a template model for all actions projects conducted by grassroots-led organizations and other institutions working on SDGs related issues.

The visit will also help and encourage local organizations to standardize programs, reporting metrics, and data collection to align with the national development agenda and the SDGs.

Furthermore, the visiting fellows will provide a unique opportunity to listen, learn, build social cohesion, and exchange ideas about America’s best practices in leadership and development with governmental officials, youth leaders, women groups, sports associations, religious institutions, businesses, civil society organizations, physically challenged individuals and other segments of the population.

The young Americans have planned to intersperse their discussion with leadership development, entrepreneurial skills, environmental training, and educational opportunities in an atmosphere that is rewarding, amazing, challenging, and fun.  All the more so, the visiting fellows will join community members to engage in trash clean-up campaigns, strategic municipal waste management, composting, clean beaches campaigns, environmental restoration projects, reforestation initiatives, and planting of fruit trees, as well as the establishment of green space and sports for peace initiatives.

The visiting fellows include Chief Executive Officer Clayton Louis Ferrara, Board Member Reginald Burroughs, and Advisory Board Member Justin “Jaybird” Farrow, who come from IDEAS For Us, a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) grassroots non-profit organization and an accredited NGO of the United Nations which advances global environmental solutions through local actions around the world.

Clayton Louis Ferrara is a poet, naturalist, explorer, and the Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Accredited NGO, IDEAS For Us. He is a classically trained Biologist and world traveler who has conducted research on five continents concerning evolution, conservation, and ecology. His work as a leader of IDEAS focuses on advancing sustainability through the creation of solutions that help people, heal the planet, and grow prosperity in communities around the world. This has led him to work directly with the likes of The United Nations, The Vatican, The White House, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, AT&T, T-Mobile, Louis Vuitton, The Mickey Mouse Club, and hundreds of other companies and many governments. Clay serves on the boards of numerous environmental and humanitarian nonprofits, land trusts, and belongs to many societies that bring him to interact with world leaders such as Pope Francis and the descendants of Charles Darwin.

Justin Farrow is focused on building communities around collaborative mitigation of sustainability issues, both on land and at sea… He is definitely not your average webmaster. A former graduate student and Professor’s Assistant to Dr. Randle at Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. For the past couple of years, Justin has worked with communities both offline and online to improve their sustainability while lowering their impact on the environment and local cultures. During COVID 19, he began developing the Blue Community Assessment App to allow Destination Communities around the world set baselines for their sustainability efforts and track their progress over time while engaging stakeholders and building best practices. The Blue Community App makes the entire process of sustainability certification and audit virtual, through the ability to provide documentation and evidence of claims streamlined through the app, increasing accountability and transparency on a community level.

In his community for Professional Land Surveyors, Land Surveyors United, close to 20k surveyors around the world are socially supporting the industry through crowdsourcing employment opportunities, and equipment needs, and fostering greater awareness for the public related to the importance of land surveying to society.

When Reginald Burroughs III found success in his career, instead of removing himself from the challenging neighborhood he grew up in, he went back to help the younger generations.

Burroughs — who grew up in west Orlando is an accomplished graduate of Jones high, Morehouse College, earned a certificate in fundraising from Rollins college’s Eydth Bush Institute, and is presently completing his master’s in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. — Currently, he serves as the External Affairs Manager for the City of Orlando Families, Parks & Recreation Department. There, he started a youth entrepreneurship program called Black Bee Honey through the city’s Parramore Kidz Zone. Due to his work ethic and strategic partnering, Reginald has expanded youth employment opportunities throughout the city of Orlando. He has built a pipeline of employment from some of the city’s lowest socioeconomic communities to some of its most thriving businesses and nonprofits.

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