YES Programs



GYSD Chili Cookoff

Ahmad handing a trophy to a woman

By: Ahmad Fehri (YES 2023-2024, Tunisia, placed by World Link in Helena, MT)

At the beginning of February, I started brainstorming what I could do for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) in my host community. I researched potential partner organizations and found the Montana Hope Project, which grants wishes to critically ill children. This spoke to me since I was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age and struggled to adapt, especially with other kids my age.

After weeks of planning, I had a clear plan for a chili cookoff to raise funds for the Montana Hope Project. But I knew I couldn’t execute the plan all by myself. I proposed the idea to members of the Key Club at my school to get volunteers and spoke with my principal to obtain approval to host the event at my school. I also coordinated with my classmate to make posters advertising the event and with the teacher who does the morning announcements to promote the event. Then, I contacted local businesses to solicit donations for the event. Some businesses provided donations, while others promoted the event by displaying flyers in their establishments. A couple days before the event, a reporter from the local news asked to profile the event, which was so exciting!

On the day of the Chili & Pie Cookoff, I found myself filled with adrenaline. At first, there were only a few people there, and I was worried that not enough people would show up. But soon, more and more people arrived, with dozens of people attending in total. All of the attendees tasted the chili and pies on offer and voted on their favorites. People of all ages had come together to have fun and support a good cause. Much to everyone’s excitement, the winners of the pie and chili cookoff were both teachers!

As the night ended, we announced the amount we raised for the Montana Hope Project. The sense of accomplishment was palpable. The next day, I shared the total amount raised with the entire school on the announcements. The outpouring of gratitude from everyone involved was humbling, with many suggesting we should make this an annual tradition. It was a truly rewarding experience that taught me how strong communities can be when they come together.

Ahmed’s GYSD project was featured on the local news at the following link: