By Edna Porca (2018-2019, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with AYA in Unity, OR)
Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is an annual event where young people from around the world conduct community service projects in their local communities. YES alumni in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been actively participating in GYSD since the launch of the YES program in the country in 2009. This year, the alumni community organized six projects, including community cleanups and promoting leadership and volunteerism.
Leda Santic (2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with YFU in Ann Arbor, MI) organized “The First Step Forward,” a local cleanup event with ten students from the United World College in Mostar (UWC), in which volunteers picked up garbage around the Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar. The cemetery, located near the town center, has been subject to vandalism and has lacked care since its reopening in 2005. It was originally built in the 1960s in honor of the Mostar Partisans killed during World War II, many of whom are buried within the complex. It is a place of great significance for citizens of Mostar, as well as an impressive architectural feat. In addition to cleaning up the cemetery, Leda used this "first step" to set a good example of a civil organization taking initiative to keep local surroundings clean and well-preserved.
Another environmental cleanup was organized by Amina Meric (2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with ACES in Aledo, IL) and Svetlana Prelovic (2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with American Councils in Cleburne, TX). The event encouraged high school students to clean up their local parks and taught them the importance of community service. The volunteers selected the community’s most frequently used parks to ensure that community members have a safe and clean place to play. The work of these volunteers has already been noticed by local community members, and more people have started using the parks since the cleanup!
Monia Djudaric (2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with World Link in Hanford, CA) and Dajana Brnada (2019-2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, placed with PAX in Olympia, WA) celebrated GYSD by educating youth about the importance of keeping our environment clean with their project "Naturism.” This two-day workshop engaged 10 children in the town of Zenica.
In addition to the environmental projects, the @yesalumnibih Instagram page held the social media campaign “Volunteering Matters.” For three days, the account highlighted alumni with posts on why they started volunteering, their favorite volunteering experience, and messages encouraging others to volunteer as well.
In celebration of GYSD, YES alumni in Bosnia and Herzegovina cleaned up their communities and educated local youth about the importance of community service. They look forward to continuing to make an impact by celebrating GYSD every year.