By Cheraine Amelo (YES 2018-2019, Suriname, placed by PAX in Bluffton, IN)
On April 29th, YES Alumni in Suriname celebrated Global Youth Service Day together with the children's home, Sanatan Dharm. GYSD is a special day where youth do something for the community, including other youth; a “by the youth, for the youth” type of day. Inspired by this, YES Alumni Suriname chose this specific institution, as they house kids, teenagers, and adolescents ranging from age 5-21.
To inspire activities, alumni worked around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as much as possible. Their selected SDGs were Good Health and Well-being, Climate Action and Good Education. The first half of the day was spent facilitating a learning session about climate action titled Climate Action x Good Education. Alumni volunteers led a discussion about global warming and its impacts and how recycling can help to save the planet. To make the lesson fun and engaging, students aged 5-12 took to drawing about the theme while students 13 and older focused on group discussion and making posters.
The second part of the day involved a bit more fun and movement. In Good Health and Well-being, alumni and children’s home residents did some physical activities such as a group exercise with balloons, where a group of 10 students had to keep a balloon in the air for as long as they could and by all means necessary (i.e. jumping and moving around). Alumni also led a listening game where participants had to jump from one side to the other, according to the caller’s instructions, in quick succession. YES alumni served a healthy snack and lunch to replenish energy after all the learning and exercising. The youth are the future and the older generations will have to turn over the reins someday, so by teaching today’s youth the three R’s: Recycle, Reduce and Reuse, alumni are hoping that they will put this knowledge to good use and better our community — maybe even bringing us one step closer to achieving the SDGs one day and reducing Global Warming.
All in all, YES Alumni Suriname had a great day with youth and they themselves ourselves even learned a few things during the whole process. It was amazing to see that the youth already knew about Global Warming and had many creative ideas to reduce it. They also had a lot of knowledge about recycling and alumni were able to test them that day itself by letting them divide the things, e.g. cups, paper, bottles, in the correct garbage bag in order to bring them to one of the recycle bins placed all around the city. YES Suriname enjoyed working with the participants and it was an honor finding out that they were the first ever group to do something with them individually and in a space where they were comfortable and able to be their best selves.