“Through WYA’s Certified Training Program, I realized the value of the human person and the role he/she can play in the international struggle for peace,” Hala Nasreddine, a current intern at the WYA Middle East office in Lebanon, shares.
WYA’s Certified Training Program (CTP) is a collection of texts that provide the philosophical underpinnings for the mission of WYA. It presents a summary of philosophical, historical, and modern day texts that focus on the dignity of the person and human rights. Those who complete Track A are equipped to articulate and defend the principles of the dignity of the person within the public square. The CTP is free and is open to all WYA members. It is a pre-requisite for participation in many of the programs of WYA (internships, specialized conferences, advocacy work).
Every year, WYA trains hundreds of young people around the world through its regional offices, clubs, chapters, national committees and partner educational institutions.
How does WYA’s Certified Training Program inspire young people around the world?
Let’s hear some of the stories of our current interns.
The Real Meaning of Life
Chapter 3 of the CTP helps WYA members understand the origins of their personal freedom, how it can be best exercised in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, and how this will enable a more peaceful existence within each individual and within society.
Kevin Alando, a current intern at the WYA Africa regional office in Kenya, shares his struggle with truth and freedom in his blog article. He shared that his struggle became evident during his first university year in campus. “I met people from different backgrounds and social status and given that there was no one to give me proper advice and the mentorship that I needed at that point in time. I felt that I needed to fit in,” Kevin shares.
One evening while Kevin was hanging out with his friends, he received a call from his girlfriend asking her to meet him. He met her at her friend’s house and learned that the pregnancy test that her girlfriend tried was positive. “I gave her a warm hug and said everything would be fine. Even though I didn’t know what to do at that time, I believed it will be better. I offered to take her home. Given the condition she was in, I spent the night at her place as we talked and I assured her we would work through it together,” he shares.
“For us, abortion was out of the picture. We made a decision to stick together no matter what happened. We both told our parents and despite being disappointed and surprised they offered us their support. The next 9 months were joyful but tough especially for my girlfriend since she had to attend her classes despite her condition but I was there to give her the support that she needed and we learnt so much from that experience,” he adds.
On the 27th of February 2014, their daughter was born. “As I held my daughter for the first time and she wrapped her hands on my little finger, it was the most beautiful feeling I have ever felt. My perspective of life changed as I saw myself in her and I got to know myself better. I had found a new kind of freedom, the freedom of excellence, the freedom to choose wisely and well the things that truly make for our happiness and for the good of our family. My grades tremendously improved that year and they were the best grades I’ve had in my four years of study. We started a business to enable us give our daughter the life that she deserves and got engaged on her first birthday,” Kevin happily shares.
Kevin shares that he truly understood Victor Frankl’s famous quote in the CTP which states that “Everything can be taken away from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The CTP has made a significant impact to Kevin. “The CTP has enabled me to understand more about freedom and human dignity as it seeks to bring out the understanding of human dignity that is intrinsic from conception to natural death. Relating my situation with what most young people are going through, I feel the need to engage with more young people to share with them this freedom of excellence which satisfies the deepest yearning of the human heart to be free and provide them with the mentorship and guidance they need in order to live a more fulfilling life that promotes and defends human dignity, he shares.
The Importance of the Family
In the CTP, members also discuss different WYA Declarations. One of them is the WYA Declaration on the Family. The declaration affirms that “the family is a school of deeper humanity; within which each member learns best what it means to be a human person. There, each member of the human family, from conception to natural death, experiences the gift of unconditional, enduring love. Thus each human person is carefully taught by the family to be responsible, to commit, to share, and to love.”
Rania Lindayag, a current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office in the Philippines, shared that her world was shattered at a very young age when her parents decided to separate. “I was 9 years old at that time, perhaps a bit too young to understand how my parents, with whom I first learned to love, suddenly turned against each other. While they grew more and more apart, my siblings and I grew more and more confused,” she shares.
“I rebelled. I did not want to follow orders. I wasn’t doing well in school. I felt sad, mad, and in complete disarray, and I thought that the only way to cope was to sever my relations with my parents even further,” she adds.
“They say that no matter what I do in this life, no matter how many times I fail, what is important is how I turn up in the end. My parents may have caused me heartbreaks in the past, but their love is enough to mend the cracks every time. And while I may always wonder what went wrong in their relationship, they show me that failure isn’t always a bad thing, but could also be a promising start of better things, better potentials, and better opportunities,” she adds.
WYA’s Declaration Family and Economic Development states that “Strong healthy families are needed to support optimal and holistic child and youth development, which in turn contributes to economic development. It is within the family that children first learn that they and all human beings have intrinsic value and dignity.”
Now, Rania realize how much her parents mean to her. “Even the little things I do make them smile with pride. And even if I don’t say that much, or say it enough, of how much I also love them, I try to show them through what I do and try to accomplish. My family will always be the most important people in my life,” she adds.
“At the end of it all, what fragmented us into pieces and has caused us to falter only molded us to be stronger people. The many pieces that we are, that make us whole, make our hearts bigger – more capable of love. As we go on with our lives each day, we always remember that no matter how separated we are, we still bring with us the gift of being loved and loving in return,” Rania shares.
The Gift of Solidarity
Chapter 4 of the CTP introduces the concepts of solidarity, friendship and family. Such relations should be based on a mutual recognition of the value of each person, and the truth of this value even in the face of opposing claims or coercive ideology.
“During our internship at the WYA Middle East office, we first learned the necessity of team work. As Henry Ford once stated, Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Only through team work and collaboration will humanity achieve progress. This is not an idealistic statement, but it is the truth that many of us, especially in our region, the Middle East, have yet to discover,” Hala Nasreddine, a current intern at the WYA Middle East office in Lebanon, shares.
“WYA is not merely an organization, but rather a school. A school that teaches you the significance of your rights, the importance of understanding cultural differences and working constantly to find common points across diverse cultures,” she adds.
WYA’s Declaration on Solidarity identifies solidarity as the unified commitment of persons to live and work in the truth of who we are and for the pursuit of the common good.
“Furthermore, WYA opened my eyes on several things: the subsistence value of education. It is of dire need to educate the youth about the basics of human rights that they own by the mere virtue that they are humans: the right for sanitation, proper food, housing, clothes, education and many others. Once the youth become aware of their rights, they will allocate the appropriate resources and gear them towards achieving their rights and empowering those who are marginalized and unprivileged,” Hala shares.
“I owe WYA. Through its CTP, I realized the value of the human being and the role he/she can play in the international struggle for peace. And as Anna put it, what we are witnessing is a new cultural transformation among a generation of youth who are being inspired and equipped with the tools necessary to propose a clear vision of the person to the world,” Hala adds.
These are just some of the inspiring and life changing stories of our current interns from their Certified Training Program experience. Many of them will continue to be active with WYA by becoming trainers and volunteers for the other WYA programs and in helping us defend and promote the dignity of the person. Many of our Certified Members have also become leaders in their own communities, starting and participating in projects wherein they are able to apply what they have learned from their learnings with WYA.
If you would like to learn more about the Certified Training Program and to enroll to the next batch of online training in your region, you may click here.
It is through your generous contribution that we are able to empower such young people to achieve new heights and discover new potentials. And it is our hope that you continue to help us do the same. Give WYA a gift today or contact our regional offices to make a donation. Your contribution helps us continue to build a better world.