The One Village Project unites youth in service and leadership development.

The One Village Project is a year-long program that unites local, international, immigrant, at-risk and refugee youth with the objective of creating a diverse Village of youth leaders who are committed to supporting each other and serving Austin and other communities in need.

Austin One Village Project

The year-long One Village Project is a youth-led community service and leadership program that unites local, refugee, and immigrant youth to create a diverse “Village” of youth leaders who are committed to supporting each other, serving communities in need, and growing as youth leaders.  The One Village Project consists of 4 main components: community service days, youth leadership training,  camping retreats and youth talking/support circles.

The One Village Project begins each year in September upon completion of the Global Youth Peace Summit, a week-long experience where 70+ youth representing over 25 different countries, come together to learn how they can positively impact their homes, their peers, their community, their environment, their world and themselves.  The youth exit the Summit as a united “village” of youth leaders eager to put their compassion into action by serving those in need.  The One Village Project is open to both youth who attend the Summit as well as youth who are new to Amala youth programs.


Unite, Serve, Grow.

This year, we are excited to announce that we have significantly expanded and improved upon our year-long One Village Project. Our vision has always been to offer more opportunities for the youth of the One Village Project to support each other, to serve their communities and to grow as leaders. With the help of our community and a grant from Glimmer of Hope, we now have the resources to make this possible.

This year’s One Village Project will include:

  • Youth Talking Circles
  • RISE UP: Leadership Development Program (twice a month)
  • Monthly Youth-led Community Service Days
  • Weekend Youth Retreats, including Camping Trips in October (Lost Maples) and March (Big Bend)
  • Monthly Volunteer Talking Circles

RISE UP: Youth Leadership Development Program 

This bi-monthly offering will be led by Kenya Masala and Source Consulting Group and will feature team-building exercises, guest speakers, community service and leadership development curriculum. This youth leadership development program is designed to increase confidence, self and cultural awareness, analytical thinking and problem solving. It also aims to improve communication and public speaking skills as well as igniting compassion and instilling the importance of community service.

Kenya Masala (Source Consulting Group)
Etienne Vidal (Khabele School)
Kristen Gerhard (Whole Life Learning Center)
Jonathan Hewitt (Life Ki-do Academy)
Brian Freedman (Earth Native School and Whole Life Learning Center)

RISE UP will be held twice a month, beginning in September and ending in May.

Registration is limited to 30 youth and requires that each youth attend 14 out of the 18 total trainings.  The total cost for 9 months of leadership training is $500 ($250 for a partial scholarship).  Please note: youth leadership training registration is now closed.

RISE UP Dates:
September 5th and 12th
October 10th and 24th (at Casa de Luz)
November 7th and 21st
December 5th and 19th
January 9th and 23rd
February 13th and 27th
March 6th and 27th
April 10th and 24th
May 1st, May 8th and 29th
**Meetings are held in the evenings 6:00-8:00pm

The tuition for entire year of RISE UP leadership development is $500 (18 two-hour sessions). Tuition helps to cover all expenses including transportation, supplies, food, and coordination.

Flexible payment arrangements are available. Please note that no youth will be turned away due to their financial situation. Both partial and full scholarships are available but must be applied for on the REGISTRATION FORM.  Please note: registration is now closed.



All youth, ages 13-18, are invited to join us, once a month, in serving the Austin community through a variety of service projects.  There is no charge for these events.  In the past, we have fed the hungry at A.R.C.H., cleaned up Bull Creek and harvested vegetables at Urban Roots Farm.

Community Service Dates (times and locations TBD):
September 21st, 10am-3pm - International Day for Peace (Open to families)
October 26th, 11am-3pm - Whole Life Learning Center.  For more info, click here.
November 16th, 11am-3pm – Zavala Elementary School
December 7th, 11am-3pmPhoenix House
January 18th, 11am-3pm – Joint Service Project with Out Youth.
February 15th, 11am-3pm – A.R.C.H.
March 29th, 11am-3pm – Jacob’s Well, Wimberley Watershed Assocation
April 12th, 10am-2pm – Bouldin Creek Cleanup, in assiocation with Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association and Austin Parks & Recreation
May 31st, 11am-3pm – TBD
Early July (Date TBD)



This year, we are offering two camping retreats.  The first camping retreat will be November 2nd-3rd at Colorado Bend State Park.  The retreat will cost $150 ($75 for a partial scholarship).

Additionally, we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Winter Youth Retreat at Jacob’s Well from January 3rd-5th.  The cost for the Winter Youth Retreat will be $250.

We will also be taking youth to Big Bend for a Spring Break Camping Retreat in March (March 12th-16th).  The Spring Break Retreat will cost $325 ($150 for a partial scholarship).  Both retreats will be limited to 15 youth and are expected to fill up quickly.  There will be both partial and full scholarships available for both retreats.  Please note: no youth are ever turned away due to lack of funds and payment plans are available. 

To register for our Winter Youth Retreat (January 3rd-5th) or our Spring Break Camping Retreat (March 12th-16th), please click here.  Please note: limited space is available.


Interested in Volunteering?

This year, due to the growth of the One Village Project, we are requesting that all volunteers fill out a VOLUNTEER FORM. This will allow us to get a better feel for how you wish to serve as well as help us more effectively communicate our volunteer needs.


Inspired To Make This Experience Possible For A Youth?

With a donation of $500, one youth will have the opportunity to participate in this year’s One Village Leadership Development Program and be given a space to grow, to share, to be celebrated, to be empowered and to heal.

Our goal is to raise enough funds to sponsor 15 youth to participate in this year’s One Village Project. Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and will be integral piece in creating this ongoing transformational experience for the youth.

Donate Now

One Village Project Details

The year-long One Village Project offers the youth an opportunity to improve their leadership skills and put their compassion into action by embarking upon a year of  humanitarian service projects that they envision and lead together, as a Village.  They serve locally and globally, integrating themes such as: hunger, shelter, communication and environmental stewardship.  The One Village Project offers valuable opportunities for youth to find an authentic sense of purpose and community among peers.

In addition to the service projects, the youth unite monthly in the form of Youth Circles where they are able to  share their stories, be heard and be supported as they continue to heal from the wounds of violence, neglect and war.  The youth also have the opportunity to participate in a monthly Youth Leadership Training Course led by the Amala Foundation and Source Consulting Group.  Source Consulting Group has provided leadership training to some of the largest businesses and organizations in Austin and around the world including Seton Medical Center and REI.

Over the last several years, The One Village Project has partnered on youth-led community service projects with several agencies in Austin.  Some examples of these service projects include: serving hundreds of people food at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), partnering with the Lower Colorado River Authority and Keep Austin Beautiful to clean up Town Lake, spending an afternoon with the elderly at the South Austin Care and Rehabilitation Center, holding a peace rally downtown in honor of The International Day of Peace, and conducting a T-Shirt Design Contest to benefit the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.  When some of their fellow One Village members were caught in the middle of a war in Nigeria, the One Village youth rallied together and created video love letters, offering their love and support to their Nigerian friends.  The youth most recently partnered with the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association and Austin Parks Foundation to clean up Bouldin Creek and the Greenbelt.  Youth from the One Village Project also spent this past Holiday painting a beautiful and uplifting mural at the Austin’s Children Shelter.

The Youth

Many of the youth who are a part of the One Village Project have experienced extreme poverty, religious persecution, child labor, gang violence, abuse and neglect; some have witnessed the atrocities of war and have literally run for their lives; many have been uprooted from their native cultures and struggle to integrate into an entirely foreign world.  All of the youth who are a part of this program are given the opportunity to experience themselves and their world through the eyes of equality, acceptance and compassion.  They are given a space to completely be themselves – as they are, they are given a safe space to heal,  a space to share their stories, a space to be heard, a space to be celebrated and a space to be empowered.  Through this initiative, the youth come to realize that sustainable peace begins within, recognizing that in order to create peace in the world they must first find peace within their own hearts.  The One Village Project brings together youth from all over the world including:

The Congo
Cote d’Ivoire
United States
South Africa
United Kingdom
El Salvador
Central African Republic

The Need

As large populations around the world are displaced by wars, poverty, and natural disasters, refugees and immigrant families are resettling in growing numbers in the United States. At a time when people seem increasingly polarized along lines of faith, nationality and political belief, the One Village Project addresses the need for adolescents, including refugee, immigrant and underserved youth, to develop values of peace, service, compassion, and leadership. Offering the youth creative and educational opportunities for community involvement, positive role models and mentors, and opportunities for youth to connect socially with an international peer group, the One Village Project is a model for sustainable peace that begins within the hearts of the youth.

The One Village Project also offers youth who have survived war and the hardships of extreme poverty an opportunity to develop trust, self-esteem, while offering support as they heal and adjust to life in a new country.  Regarding refugee youth specifically, who account for roughly 35% of the One Village population, there is a need not only to heal, but also to establish a support system around them that helps them adjust to their new lives.  This is a growing need not only in Austin, but throughout the country – 80,000 refugees are expected to enter the United States in 2010.  Once the refugees arrive in the United States, they struggle to build sustainable lives.  While parents must focus on survival needs like housing and employment, children in refugee families are often left with very little support as they adjust to a new school system, language barriers, and an unfamiliar culture.  The One Village Project provides refugee youth with an international community of loving and supportive peers and adults, easing their transition by offering compassionate counsel, peer support and opportunities to discuss past and present challenges caused by war, trauma, and poverty. The refugee youth also embrace the opportunity to become part of a larger community by serving the people within it.


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