YES Programs



Checkmate of Compassion

Two young men sitting at a chessboard

13 West Bank YES alumni and 22 English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) alumni hosted a chess tournament fundraiser in August. They partnered with the Shah2Range Foundation, a local initiative which focuses on reviving and sharing the game of chess. This wasn’t just any chess tournament though; it was a mission of compassion. Residents of a local elderly home needed summer pajamas, and the alumni sought to raise funds to meet their needs.  

The day of the tournament arrived on August 12, bringing with it laughter and chatter as the alumni reminisced about their YES and Access program days. Meanwhile, the experts from the Shah2Range Foundation were transforming the Amideast office into a battleground for the tournament. When the tournament began, alumni competed fiercely, with those eliminated early taking solace in board games and cheering on their fellow alumni.  

A group of young and elderly people dancing

Overall, the alumni raised $120, enough to purchase 12 sets of summer pajamas. On August 24, five alumni set out for the elderly home in Nablus. They chatted with the residents, sharing stories and forging connections across the generations. They played crossword puzzles together to challenge their minds and danced to music as the day ended.  

The alumni are excited to plan future volunteer activities with the elderly home. Although they were seeking to serve others, the alumni found their own hearts were touched by feelings of compassion and unity.  

Razan Hussein ‘23 said, “Meeting new friends in Ramallah and playing chess for a good cause was a blast! It showed us that spreading love and having fun can be a winning combo." 

Razan Hussein (YES 2022-2023, West Bank, placed by Ayusa in Rolla, MO)