YES Programs



December Student of the Month: Rasheed Akparibo

Poster of Rasheed playing soccer

Above: Rasheed is an award-winning player on the Scott High School soccer team.

We are pleased to announce Rasheed Wintima Akparibo ((YES 2022-2023, Ghana, placed by ACES in Toledo, OH) as the December YES Student of the Month! Rasheed is placed by ACES in Toledo, OH, where he attends Scott High School.

Rasheed is an extraordinary young leader who proves you can do anything you set your mind to! Due to a childhood injury, Rasheed lost vision in his left eye but has not let that hold him back. He impresses those around him by challenging himself to do his very best every day and to face all obstacles with positivity and confidence. Rasheed quickly gained recognition at Scott High School by joining the soccer team. This season he led his team in goals, received 1st Team All City Honors (awarded to the best soccer players in the city) and the All-Academic Award, and was nominated for Fall Athlete of the Year ’22. A remarkable athlete, he has already started training for track and field and plans to try out for the basketball team.

Rasheed has excelled not only in sports. He is striving to learn as much as he can during his exchange year and maintains stellar grades as a junior at his high school, earning a place on the Principal’s List. Rasheed participates in SMARTS, a district-wide student board that provides input on school-related issues, and is also a member of the Teen Prevention Education Program, which seeks to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices through peer education. Rasheed also joined his high school’s Anime Club to learn about new things and as another way to make friends.

Rasheed with his host mom and another exchange student from Sierra Leone.
Rasheed (right) with his host mom and his YES program brother from Sierra Leone.

Rasheed enjoys engaging not only with classmates, but also with his host community, where he has already volunteered 50 hours. Despite having no prior acting experience, as part of his volunteer work, Rasheed was the youngest actor to perform at Black Theater Day with Northwest Ohio’s oldest independently operated black theatre organization. He said that he learned a lot from the other actors, who have invited him back for future performances. As another volunteer activity, he performed at Toledo Lucas County Library’s Welcome Event for New Citizens and Immigrants, which invited participants to celebrate and learn about the traditions of numerous cultures through live music, food, dance, folk singing, poetry reading, and other activities. Currently, he is volunteering to support the Toledo-Tanga Sister Cities International chapter’s educational initiative to teach youth in Ohio and Tanzania about technology.

Rasheed is always engaged and focused on his personal growth.  He regularly participates in Global Discussions, local meetings with other exchange students where they discuss and debate international issues.  Reflecting on his experience so far, Rasheed says the YES program helps students “achieve a dream … and lets them know what is out in the world.” 

Rasheed has also developed a strong relationship with his host family.  His host mom, Audrey Johnson, commended his achievements, describing him as her “confident, accomplished” and “Amazing Grace” child.  In the words of his Local Coordinator, “Often there are students that impress, then there are those, like Rasheed, that inspire.” 

Congratulations, Rasheed!