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Opportunity International Welcomed 5 New Cities to the YAO Network

By Allison Kooser

2013 was an inspiring year. In this blog series, the 12 Days of Opportunity, we are celebrating the accomplishments made possible by our caring and generous community of partners and supporters. Because of you, our clients are working their way out of poverty, strengthening their families and building vibrant communities in 22 countries around the world.

In 2013, Opportunity International welcomed 5 new cities to the Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO) network. From the midwest to the lone star state to the southwest, we celebrated the launches of new YAO chapters committed to fighting global poverty and supporting the transformational work of Opportunity International.

YAO-St. Louis rallied a community of young leaders in Missouri to become one of our fastest growing new YAO chapters. They followed their spring launch with a Summer Soiree, a margarita night and a pub trivia event--all to support Opportunity International's work. They took particular interest in Opportunity's Education Finance initiative and are now seeking to engage schools in St. Louis with schools around the world.  Learn more and connect with YAO-STL >>

Meanwhile, in Michigan, new Young Ambassadors gathered in Grand Rapids to learn more about Opportunity's work. Small groups facilitated discussion about a variety of topics including loans, trust groups and Opportunity's use of technology. This educational evening marked the start of a new YAO community in Michigan. 

Further south, a group of young professionals in Dallas decided that Houston couldn't lay claim on the only YAO chapter in Texas. They planned an early summer launch of a YAO-Dallas community, inviting dozens of friends and co-workers to learn more about Opportunity's work. Following a successful launch, a handful of Young Ambassadors gathered with other Opportunity supporters for a luncheon at the Bush Library with former first lady Laura Bush. Learn more and connect with YAO-Dallas >>

By the fall, YAO-Phoenix was ready to launch, planning a lovely outdoor event featuring guest speaker Betty Mutua, a relationship officer from Opportunity Kenya. Betty spoke about her experiences working directly with clients around Nairobi and inspired attendees to get involved as Young Ambassadors. A little bit of rain didn't dampen spirits, and everyone left feeling inspired. Learn more and connect with YAO-Phoenix >>

We launched our last new YAO chapter in December of 2013. Young Professionals in Toledo, Ohio weren't deterred by the relatively small size of their city--they knew that they could create a big impact and they were right! The YAO-Toledo kick-off was the best attended launch event of the year, bringing together nearly 50 young leaders from western Ohio. Together they sampled holiday ales, learned about Opportunity's work and supported clients around the world. Learn more and connect with YAO-Toledo >>

We are so excited to launch even more new YAO communities in 2014. If you would like to bring YAO to your city, contact Allison at [email protected]

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