Fort Worth Wins Best Youth Program in the Nation
Fort Worth, Texas has won the Sister Cities International Innovation in Youth & Education Award for a city with a population greater than 300,000 for outstanding youth programming in 2021. The awards competition, which is open to over 500 sister city programs nationwide, recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and community sister city programs that are promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.
Fort Worth Sister Cities International has some of the most robust international youth programming in the U.S. We focus a majority of our programming on youth because we know that these programs change the trajectory of a student’s life by:
- Improving school performance
- Teaching perseverance
- Providing problem-solving skills
- Giving students an edge for universities and scholarships
- Increasing their desire to serve the community
- Creating empathy for others
In 2021, Fort Worth Sister Cities International explored ways to increase the innovation and diversity of our programs. With the pandemic preventing many in-person programs and exchanges, the team of staff and volunteers rolled up their sleeves, conducted numerous zoom meetings, and designed virtual programming for students and educators to increase global competency in our community.
Because most of the programming was conducted virtually, it was accessible to many more students since there was little cost associated with the online programming. The students we recruited demonstrated Fort Worth’s diversity to the world: 37% Latino/Hispanic; 17% White; 24% Black; 19% Asian/Pacific Islander; and 3% multi-racial.
Programs conducted in 2021 included:
- Virtual Youth Ambassador exchange with Nagaoka, Japan
- The Experiment Digital virtual exchange program through the US Department of State
- Showcase of Young Artists and Authors
- Local student group Fort Worth Youth International
- Virtual programming with Boys & Girls Club of Tarrant County and Toluca, Mexico
- Virtual International Leadership Academy with six sister cities
- World Learning virtual homestay with Central America and the Dominican Republic
Sister Cities International Annual Awards recognize excellence in overall programming and highlight key innovations in arts and culture; business and trade; humanitarian assistance; and youth and education. All award winners were honored during Sister Cities International’s 2022 Annual Business Meeting held virtually July 8.