YES is highlighting an alum from each year of the program.
One of the most common groups YES alumni engage with and benefit through their projects and activities are young people. Here are nine ways alumni are shaping the youth of today, who are tomorrow’s future leaders.
A team of 10 YES alumni, five YES Abroad students, and five non-alumni volunteers organized a city tour for 20 children from the orphanage Chosen Children's Centre in Accra, Ghana. The event gave the children an opportunity to explore historic sites in Greater Accra, including colonial Jamestown, Independence Square, and Asomdwe Park, where former President John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills is buried. The children enjoyed seeing ostriches, ducks, and doves at the park, and they learned the history of Jamestown and its significance to Ghana’s freedom from colonial rule. Photo right
Three alumni hosted the Highlight Your Skills workshop at the American Corner in Tunis, Tunisia to provide 27 undergraduate and graduate students with career guidance. Participants were prepared for the job search process with sessions on finding job opportunities, marketing oneself, writing resumes and cover letters, and attracting recruiters. Alumni also shared how their YES experience equipped them to apply for opportunities as alumni. Photo highlight above
Yumna Owais led two fellow alumni in implementing a podcasting workshop to provide tools and resources for 35 students, ages 14 to 26, to create their own podcasts and develop their storytelling skills in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Yumna was inspired to implement this workshop after attending the January to March 2022 YES Voices Podcasting workshop. Participants learned the basics of podcasting, storytelling, and vlogging, and the alumni shared their personal experiences and how they have used media tools to build their portfolios. Participants were encouraged to share what they learned with others to spread the impact. Photo left
Yumna Owais (YES 2015-2016, Pakistan, placed by AFS in Bethesda, Maryland)
City Representative Desara Gjini celebrated Halloween with six children and two staff members at Frang Bardhi Kindergarten in Lezha, Albania. Desara engaged the children in face painting, painting spider webs and other Halloween symbols on their faces. Desara also taught the children Halloween poems. Photo right
Desara Gjini (YES 2018-2019, Albania, placed by YFU in Bloomington, IN)
On October 9, Lea Abdel Khalek organized the Let’s Run Majdel Baana Marathon under the auspices of the Majdel Baana Youth Club, which Lea founded to raise money for developmental projects like road paving and streetlights as well as helping people in need in her community of Aley, Lebanon. Over 400 people along with 50 volunteers of the youth club participated in the marathon, which raised 5,300 USD and received sponsorship from Aquafina, Cafe Noel Roastery, and La Ronda Patisserie.
Lea Abdel Khalek (YES 2021-2022, Lebanon, placed by AFS in Carroll, OH)
Three alumni in Mjini Magharib, Tanzania partnered with a sports coach from Coaches Across Continents, an NGO with the goal of improving quality of life in low-income countries through soccer for social development, to implement a workshop about gender-based violence and reproductive rights. The alumni engaged 21 youth participants in discussions and interactive sports and activities designed to develop an awareness of gender issues and reproductive rights as well as awaken a sense of youth leadership among the participants. Photo left
Five alumni in Palangkaraya, Indonesia implemented Project 13, which focused on Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action. The alumni collaborated with Taman Baca Laskar Pelangi, a community center established for low-income children to play and engage in educational activities. The alumni opened the event by teaching 30 youth basic English conversational dialogues as well as vocabulary about climate and the environment. The alumni then delivered an interactive presentation on climate change and divided the class into small groups to plant trees on the site. At the end, the students were given seeds to take home and plant in their neighborhood. Photo right
Eugene Wangila spoke to over 300 elementary school students about the importance of education and the dangerous effects of substance abuse with the goal of addressing the high rate of school dropouts in his community of Eldoret, Kenya. He also shared about his YES exchange experience and American culture to inspire the students to stay in school and apply for the YES program when they are eligible. Photo left
Eugene Wangila (YES 2017-2018, Kenya, placed by CIEE in Hope, IN)
In October, seven alumni wrapped up the annual Kaduna Book Drive in Nigeria. Through a social media campaign, during which alumni from across Kaduna State as well as the alumni association spread the word to their networks, the project collected over 80 books and notebooks, which were donated to Al-Ihsan Balsuma Academy, a school for orphans and underprivileged children. Photo right