The SYTA Student Youth Foundation (SYF), the philanthropic sister organization of the Student & Youth Travel Association, will mark the start of its second decade of operation this July when it brings a group of 50 students and chaperones from New York City on a four-day, three-night sightseeing and mentoring tour of the national historical sites of Eastern Pennsylvania.
SYTA member companies from Philadelphia, Lancaster and Gettysburg have come together to create a four-day experience of a lifetime. The outreach event is part of the Silver Lining Program, which was created as a vehicle to "give something back" to disadvantaged students and youth who overcome personal crises to produce extraordinary outcomes for themselves or for other people.
The SYF Board is organizing the Eastern Pennsylvania trip in cooperation with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and its Division of Runaway & Homeless Youth. The New York City program seeks to stabilize the lives of young people who have left their homes by helping them resume and complete their education, find job opportunities and, whenever possible, reunite them with families from which they have become separated.
Each year, SYTA members sponsor deserving students and young adults for the SYF Silver Lining trip from the city in which the year's annual SYTA Conference is being held. The sponsoring members last year brought students from Sacramento, site of the 2010 conference, on a trip to Orlando.
The 2011 SYTA Conference is scheduled for Aug. 19 to 23 at the Sheraton New York and Sheraton Manhattan in New York City, the home of this year's Sliver Lining student participants. Each participating SYTA member contributes several hundred dollars to underwrite costs for one of the students going on the trip.
SYF Board members involved in organizing the 2011 Silver Lining trip to Philadelphia include Marie Martin, the San Diego-based President of Lead USA and current SYF Board Chairman; Eric Gordon, President of Beyond Times Square in New York and a board member; and Stephanie Esposito, Vice President of National Sales for Hersha Hospitality Management, based in Philadelphia, and the chairman of this year's Silver Lining Program committee. Additionally, dozens of SYTA members are contributing substantial donations to fund the all-inclusive group trip.