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Contact: Nancy Murray, 202-245-4675
Will Engage New Audiences, Promote Stewardship for National Park Service's 100th Anniversary
Washington –Kersten Laveroni and Ayomide Sekiteri will help prepare the National Mall and Memorial Parks for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary in 2016. Laveroni is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst majoring in Environmental Conservation and Sekiteri is a graduate from Hood College majoring in Environmental Science and Policy. They are two of 70 energetic, young Centennial Volunteer Ambassador interns recently selected to spend the next year connecting local communities to parks through volunteerism. There are eight ambassadors working in the National Park Service's National Capital Region.
Both Laveroni and Sekiteri will participate in programs that promote volunteer and educational events. They will have the opportunity to work throughout the year during special events such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
"The National Park Service's Centennial celebration will focus as much on our future as on our past," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We are excited that young people, including our Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors, are stepping up as the next generation of conservation leaders. I know this opportunity will enable them to form lasting connections to national parks and the natural world. I also know that their contagious passion will inspire many others to do the same."
The Volunteer Ambassador Program is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and supports the Department of the Interior's Play, Learn, Serve, Work Youth Initiative to expand educational, volunteer, and career opportunities for millions of youth and veterans on the nation's public lands.
"I want to make a difference in the community," Laveroni said. "It has always been a dream of mine to work for the National Park Service and this is a great way to start."
"I hope to increase the amount of visitors and volunteers that come to the parks and people who are passionate about service towards or natural and cultural resources," Sekiteri said. "I want the volunteers to feel like they are having fun as they do good service."
SCA President and CEO Jaime Berman Matyas notes that in addition to its role in the Centennial, the volunteer ambassador program is an important part of SCA's leadership development curriculum.
"Transformative experiences like these yield crucial leadership skills and life lessons that empower these young people for lifelong success," Matyas said. "These service opportunities are also potent career pathways and, together, SCA and NPS are creating a workforce for the second century of national parks."
To learn more about the efforts of the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors visit nps100sca.wordpress.com.
About National Mall and Memorial Parks. The National Park Service's National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects, and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the Nation's Capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation, and public enjoyment.