YES Programs



Alumni Look Back and Give Back

Iyaa Annual Mtg Group Photo With Banner

by Hadijjah Ummini Elsa (YES '18, Indonesia, placed by AFS-USA in Chicago, IL)

The Indonesia YES Alumni Association (IYAA) recently held its annual meeting, under the theme "Look Back, Bring Back, and Give Back", to realign our vision and mission and plan our projects. The meeting gathered national committee leaders and chapter coordinators from around Indonesia to discuss future plans and activities.

A banner that says, "National Meeting"

YES alumni everywhere still remember the feelings of excitement we had years ago when we sat back, fastened our seat belts, and took off for our adventure in the United States. When we return to our home country, we bring back so many things with us -- new experiences, new perspectives, and new values-- among others. During our YES program, maybe some of us experienced community service and volunteering for the first time, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be the last. 

As YES alumni, the spirit of volunteerism and giving back to the community is still in our veins. But to put plans into action, it’s always helpful to brainstorm with people who have similar vision and goals. The IYAA meeting helped us to better prepare ourselves to work as a team for the new leadership term. We refreshed our intercultural learning skills, which includes tools to help us communicate and interact with each other. We also learned social innovation and changemaking skills and split into small groups to discuss current issues in our society. Each group broke down the issues into smaller ones to get at root causes and help us plan how we can best help the community. We were also asked to link the solutions we proposed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Two people hold poster board with sticky notes

This meeting really helped us develop and hopefully execute tangible activities that serve the YES program mission and align with our meeting theme of “Look Back, Bring Back, and Give Back” to the communities.

Thank you to Ms. Mary Trechock, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Mr. Gatot Nuradi Sam, Executive Director of AFS Bina Antarbudaya, and outgoing IYAA president Calista Samagat '18 for your welcome speeches. US Embassy staff Irmina Reniarti (Youth Outreach Specialist) and Yoana Kristiawati (Emerging Voice Exchanges and Alumni Coordinator) also joined the meeting.

We really are looking forward to what life has in store for the upcoming year and fingers crossed we can inspire more people with our projects. We believe in what Paulo Coelho said, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” So let’s rock it, "IYAA 2022/2023!"