Community service is a value learned and practiced amongst YES alumni around the world. Garmai Gayflor (YES 2014-15, Liberia, hosted by AYUSA in Spanway, WA) has been spreading the importance of community service and her overall passion to serve her community in so many phenomenal ways. Since becoming a YES alumna, Garmai has established two clubs: Youth for Volunteering Liberia, established in Tubmanburg, Bomi county in 2017 and the Liberian Kids Volunteering Club, established in 2018 in Monrovia, Montserrado county. Youth for Volunteering Liberia is a club designed to serve Liberians and encourage the development of Liberia while promoting education for youth. The club also fundraises to support people in need and strives to bring unity amongst the youth of Liberia and many others. The Liberian Kids Volunteering Club was established to promote the idea of volunteerism and to empower youth to make a difference in their own communities. Whether it’s cleaning their school yards or tutoring students, the club seeks to create various opportunities for youth to volunteer.
“The goal of the Youth for Volunteering Liberia is to create everlasting friendships among the youth of Liberia while ensuring our country is clean and advocating for people in need. The goal of the Liberian Kids Volunteering club is to inspire Liberian children to volunteer - something not too common in Liberia. As a child I didn't volunteer because, I didn't know much about volunteering. As a YES student, my time in the U.S. inspired me to volunteer because of the many doors of opportunity that the YES program opened up for me. On the YES program, I attended an American high school, lived with a U.S. host family, and learned English. I made new friends and learned so much. I volunteer to give back to my community and to the world at large. In the U.S, I volunteered at the church I attended and also served food to people in need.”
The Liberian Kids Volunteering Club executed its first volunteering for a total of 15 children.
“I think it is very important to teach children about volunteerism because the children also need to give back to their community. I strongly believe that children are future leaders and they need to be taught in order to lead. I told them that volunteering is the easiest way they can give back to their community ( a way of saying thank you). I also taught them that volunteering can help them make new friends, learn new things, and improve their skills.”
In addition to organizing club activities, Garmai conducted a spelling bee competition for students at Chris Wicket Academy in Paynesville, Liberia to help children learn phonics at an early age. Fifty students participated in the spelling bee. The winners were awarded a one-year scholarship by the school.
“I was inspired to launch the spelling bee for students because of my experience as an exchange student in the U.S. Most kids 5-10 years old can't pronounce words distinctly. I believe the difference can be made in the life of the kids in Liberia from early learning. I hope to continue the spelling bee every school year and look forward to raising more funds for winners. I have a strong hope that there will be more participants at our next volunteering activity. People are so excited and parents have started preparing their children for the next activity!"