Iraimi Mercado ’12, a sociology major from Brockton, Mass., says that the YMCA holds a special place in her heart. The organization provided critical support when her family was going through challenging times. Now, she plans to give back on a global scale as a recent winner of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She will explore YMCAs around the world and learn the different building blocks of positive youth development. A native of the Dominican Republic, she will travel to Glasgow, Scotland; Dakar, Senegal; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Negombo, Sri Lanka. Working with YMCA staffs in the various locations, Mercado hopes to discover each culture’s particular method of supporting and empowering youth, and by extension, the community.
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