August 6, 2019
Video Star Finalists Gear Up for 2019 Global Alumni Conference
JA Worldwide launched the Video Star Contest on January 15, 2019, inviting alumni of all ages and from all regions to record their own “I am JA” videos to share their JA stories.
Applicants from 34 countries responded with 84 one-minute self-produced video submissions. Alumni ranged in age from ten years old to 60! A jury of JA staff and alumni from the six regions selected the top ten videos, which were then put online and opened to a public vote.
The top three winners were selected based on total votes and announced on June 16. Each of the top three was awarded admission and airfare to the first-ever JA Global Alumni Conference in Vienna this month, where they will pitch their stories live on stage on Saturday, August 31.
Meet the Finalists
Felipe Martinez Palacio’s first experience with JA was through a FIE event in Cordoba when he was 17. A songwriter and rapper, Felipe entered the talent show and won second place. He later attended the 2018 Global Youth Forum in Mexico, where he realized the power of connecting with other people from around the world.
“There was one speaker who was talking about how the how human we are and how you connect with each other. And it was an amazing experience for me. Connecting with people from other countries and other religions was incredible.”
Felipe has been inspired by JA alumni, having had the opportunity to hear several speak live: “I learned that everything is in our head. These people who overcame their difficulties taught me to love me, that there are no limits to achieving your dreams.”
Watch Felipe’s winning video.
Marcella Cesa Bertoluci joined JA in her second year of high school, and it inspired her to pursue entrepreneurship after graduation. Her student company, Radhika, comprised 30 students and sold a small, hangable bag that served as a mobile phone holder and wallet. Marcella’s mentor had a significant impact on her and was very supportive.
Thanks to NEXA, the alumni network in Brazil, Marcella has maintained contact with other JA alumni and participated in a program similar to the JA company program while at university. Marcella wanted to help pair adoptable Brazilian children with the right families.
Today, Marcella works in partnership with the local government to match children with families through events that she puts on. The events provide opportunities for families hoping to adopt a child to meet and play with children looking for families. Offering a more natural space for children families to meet allows them to get to know each other better than they might in a formally organized environment.
To date, Marcella’s events have facilitated the adoption of eight children. “It’s magical,” she says.
“I gained a lot of experience during the JA program—that helped me a lot. I was extremely shy,” Marcella says. “I gained confidence, I learned how to speak for myself, to engage in things that I love to, and everything that I did there helped me to build this project.”
Watch Marcella’s winning video:
Aymane Berrerhdoche joined JA because he wanted to make a positive impact in the world, and he knew he could do that through entrepreneurship: “I found out that being an entrepreneur, you can touch so many lives, create jobs, and produce a product help people.”
His mom was a JA mentor in Morocco, and she had so many positive things to say about the program that Aymane joined. Through JA , Aymane’s student company produced water filters and broke the record for shares sold. “I was very proud of that,” he says. Though Ayman’s team did not win the Company of the Year Competition, he says, “For me, it was a win, because I learned a lot from the experience.”
“The JA experience made me think what I really want in life and if entrepreneurship, for example, is really my thing or not. It gave me a little more clarity about my future and what I want to do later.”
Today, Aymane keeps in touch with other JA alumni in Morocco primarily through social media, as well as other alumni he met at the Company of the Year competition. He’s enjoyed participating in the Video Star Contest and has even gained a small measure of locale fame because of it. “It’s a great opportunity to represent a country in a competition like that.”
Watch Aymane’s winning video: