YES Programs



A Thank You Letter Celebrating Diversity

YES student, Hamna, with her host parents and host brothers wearing traditional Pakistani attire

By Hamna Ikram (YES 2019-20, Pakistan, hosted by Greenheart in Silverlake, WI)

It all started with me accepting my host family and them accepting me. My host family is certainly one of the most diverse families in the area where we live and I figured it out when people used to smile weirdly at us wherever we went. My family has white parents, two African-American boys, and me, a South Asian Muslim girl. A very unique family with a very strong bond. 

Starting with my Mott Mott (my host mom), she has inspired me in a lot of ways but the most important one is that you can do everything, anything all at the same time. Mom, I thank you for being one of my best friends and at the same time my responsible mother. I can never forget all the crazy singing, our car rides, dancing over corona workout videos, tearing up over wedding shows, watching food shows during quarantine, and then being funny over what stuff we had to do after everything gets over. I am proud to be your host daughter.

Hamna sitting on a couch with a group of freinds

Dott Dott (my host dad), the most soft-hearted person, as well as intelligent. I learned from you some amazing life lessons which will help me a lot in life. Thank you for all the amazing board games we played, cooking competitions, family time, and courage to try different foods and my food. I will always remember our conversations, your Dad jokes, and teasing me over little things and you got me every time.

Acey, you are the most pure hearted and caring brother and it's been a pleasure for me being your sister for these 8 months. I have always cherished every moment watching you do your gymnastics and winning all those competitions. Thank you for being my Iftar partner, the first person to try everything I cooked, giving those warm hugs and precious smiles all the time to me, motivating me to try new stuff, and arranging that indelible presentation for me. It was an absolute joy to present to your classmates!

Hamna posing in front of Christmas lights with her host family

Sm, my little brother, although he loves food and videos more than me, still I love him a lot. I can never forget teasing you all over the Halloween candy. Thank you for all giving me all the love and care you could give me and making me try video games.They are actually fun. I will always remember you calling me by those funny nicknames, me attending your karate classes, attending football games together, and making that delicious fruit salad with you.

A big group thanks to Grandma, Nama (my host grandmother), Bucka (my host grandfather), my aunts and uncle, and sweet cousins for making my exchange precious. Although we met just once, still it will always remain in my heart!

Last but not the least, Molly, our dog. Thank you for all those cuddles and being my walk partner! You are truly a fine dog!

Although we had a lot of plans which we could not do but we still had a great time together! I will always remember you and will surely come back to my beloved family!

With lots of love, care, and support,

Your daughter,


May 2020