Three Riverhead teens will be part of a cross-cultural experience soon as they head to Brazil for a seminar on girls' empowerment.
According to Nancy Lynott, director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau -- Lynott will be chaperoning the trip on her own time, not in her official town capacity - three girls from Riverhead and two from Sag Harbor have been chosen to participate in the event.
"The purpose of the seminar is to engage youth from around the world to build understanding between countries, increase leadership skills, and prepare girls to be positive agents of change," Lynott said. "The premise is that educating and empowering girls not only achieves better outcomes for them, but for their communities. And cross-cultural understanding leads to better international relationships."
The five local students are part of a 30-member delegation of high school girls that will travel from the United States to join their counterparts from Latin America, Jordan, and the Ukraine.
Riverhead participants include Jordan Tapley, D'aja Mitchner and Charlotte Palmer; Sag Harbor delegates are Lindsay Cox and Elizabeth Grigonis.
The seminar is sponsored by the United States Embassy in Brazil and the Brazilian Department of Human Rights, Lynott said; the U.S. Department of State and the Mary Kay Foundation are slated to cover all travel expenses, while the Brazilian government will fund all seminar expenses.
"It's an exciting opportunity for them to have been selected and part of their charge is to share what they've learned in their home community," Lynott said. "These girls are getting a great opportunity to interact with girls and women from all over the world, which will broaden their world view and help them understand that their way of looking at things is not the only way to see them. They will also develop leadership skills and learn about the important roles girls and women can play in making the world a stronger and better place. And how not all the young women in the world have access to the same opportunities that they do."
Lynott said she learned about the seminar through her daughter, Melissa, who works for Partners of the Americas, a Washington, DC-based organization that is working with the U.S. Department of State to bring girls from the United States to the conference.
Lynott was asked to find some teens to participate; she contacted a number of young women and five were selected by the organization to be part of the United States ' delegation.
The group will also tour Rio and soak up cultural experiences and traditional food, Lynott said.