In February, we brought you the story of our alumni ambassadors who came to DC to help out with our first YES Civic Education Workshop of 2019. In case you missed it, read all about them here!
With our second YES Civic Education Workshop fast approaching (March 23-29), we're pleased to introduce you to our Week 2 alumni ambassadors!
Nafisa Bala, 2008-09 | Nigeria | Scranton, Pennsylvania
Nafisa credits her participation in the YES program and time living as an exchange student in Scranton, Pennsylvania as one of her greatest accomplishments. Throughout her year, she learned a great deal about herself, the U.S., and her home country of Nigeria. Her host family inspired her by allowing her to realize that being human is far beyond any race, religion, or gender. She realized her passion for writing while taking a creative writing class at her host school, and she also fell in love with community service through the experiences and impact she saw while giving back in her host community. From realizing her own passions and aspirations, to becoming more independent and confident in her abilities, she credits the YES program for, most importantly, making her a better human.
Since her return home to Nigeria, Nafisa has completed her Chemistry degree at Kaduna State University. However, her foremost desire has been to make an impact in the lives of those around her, especially young people. To do this, she got involved in many community service activities that brought about positive change in her community. These activities knew no bounds; Nafisa did volunteer teaching, different environmental and water sanitation projects, refugee camp and orphanage homes visits, career guidance and mentoring projects, awareness campaigns on diseases, and worked to address other social issues, such as skills acquisition trainings for women. Because of her active involvement as an alumna, she had various opportunities to participate in different workshops and conferences, where she met fellow changemakers and built upon her own project management capacity. With her YES leadership skills, Nafisa will continuously work to maintain an active, united, and vibrant community for a better Nigeria.
Filip Stefanovski, 2014-15 | North Macedonia | Bethesda, MD
Filip is a YES alumnus fueled by compassion and dissatisfaction with the status quo. Through his YES exchange year, he discovered that his passion for volunteering met his desire to help people. YES life in Bethesda, Maryland was filled with community service at The Camphill School, an organization that provides residential accommodations for children and youths with developmental disabilities and the resources to overcome difficulties in their daily lives so that they may reach their full potential. He also participated in the anti-bullying project Don't Look Away, part of the European Youth in Action Programme, where he coordinated activities and mentored the young international participant cohort.
Upon his return home to North Macedonia after his YES year in Maryland, he got involved in many projects to bring awareness and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as equal members of his community. Filip put his organizational and leadership skills to use through one of his biggest projects, Healthy Mind, Healthy Lifestyle, a project for youths with developmental disabilities to attain a healthier life and environment where he taught participants the importance of combining a healthy diet with physical exercise.
Filip will complete his undergraduate degree in English language and literature in 2020. In addition to studying, he also works as a Key Account Manager at Tik-Tak Audio, where he maintains strong relationships with existing clients as well as generates new business for the company. In the future, Filip wants to establish his own educational training center that will instruct teachers and university students in English language teaching for social change. He also wants to design specialized English courses for all ages and levels with the same social focus. With passion for volunteer work and the experience, leadership, and communication skills he gained through the YES program, he is shaping of the future of his community and country!