2015 Nyah Fellow, Julio Burgos (standing), shares highlights from his experience in Costa Rica to 2017 Fellows: (sitting left to right) Alvin Huezo, Dewayne Martin and Majel Williams. who will travel to Namibia and South Africa this summer.


Staff Report

MIAMI – Ten outstanding high school students from Miami-Dade County were selected for the prestigious Nyah Project Fellowship, a program founded on the belief that “Travel Awakens Leaders” and develops diverse youth leaders through transformative experiences abroad.

Each year, a cohort of Nyah Fellows receives intensive training in human factor leadership, social entrepreneurship and experiential learning in amazing international destinations, including Ghana, Costa Rica, South Africa and Namibia – at no cost to them.

Founder, Leigh-Ann Buchanan announced the 2017 fellows at a Nyah Project event held at Icon Bay in downtown Miami. There, Nyah Project alumni, friends and partners gathered in support of increasing opportunities for underserved youth in Greater Miami to access experiential leadership and international learning opportunities.

The 2017 Nyah Project Fellows will travel to London, South Africa and Namibia over the course of 12 days this summer. They include:
1. Majel Williams, Senior, Miami Carol City Senior High
2. Nia Sweet, Junior, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart
3. Alvin Huezo, Senior, School for Advanced Studies
4. Claudia Corujo, Junior, Miami Springs Senior High School
5. Samara Rolle, Junior, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart 6. Trevian Jean-Francois, Sophomore, William H. Turner Technical Arts
7. David Bruce, Junior, MIami Norland Senior High School
8. Kemoni Alexander, Junior, William H. Turner Technical Arts High School
9. Dewayne Martin, Freshman, American Senior High School 10. Isabella Lopez, Sophomore, Sports Leadership and Management Charter High School

Graduating alumni were also recognized at the event for winning academic scholarships to notable academic institutions, including Columbia University, Emory University, University of Florida, Syracuse University and Hamilton College.

Jean-Francois’ mother Wendy said her son would not have been afforded such an opportunity had it not been for the Nyah Project.

“The first word that comes to mind would be blessed and the second word would be honored,” Jean-Francois said. “I really do believe that exposure to other cultures will really help him to develop himself as an individual and as a young man and help to build his character.”

Buchanan also emphasized the impact of the Nyah Project.

“We have experienced a 354 percent increase in applicants, topping out at 70 this year. We have supported the leadership development of 35 fellows and 70-plus finalists. But, most importantly, since founding the program in 2014, 100 percent of our fellows are accepted into college or university and 90 percent of our fellows win academic or merit-based scholarships,” Buchanan said.

Michelle Mclean-Bailey – former Miss Universe ‘92, philanthropist, and entrepreneur – said she way happy to partner with the Nyah Project.

“The Michelle Mclean Children’s Trust has a strong history of supporting the next generation of leaders through our various communitybased programs throughout Namibia and our treasured Michelle McLean Primary School,”

Mclean-Bailey said. “We are excited to partner with the Nyah Project by creating service learning opportunities and exciting adventures in Namibia as well as to advance global connections between Southern Africa and South Florida.”

Despite attracting support from the Knight Foundation, DIBIA Dream Foundation, Jonathan Spikes Foundation, BMe Community, Nelson Foundation, Inspire Transformation and others, additional funds are needed to execute the 2017 fellowship program in Southern Africa.

As an entirely volunteer run organization, 100 percent of the proceeds raised support the signature leadership fellowship program. Those interested in donating can do so online at:

www.nyahproject.org/donate by June 1. Prospective individual or corporate sponsors should contact the Nyah Project directly at info@nyahproject.com or 305-981-6875.