YES Programs



How Has YES Shaped Me?

YES alumni with nursing home residents

By Maryame Arrach (YES 2022-2023, Morocco, placed by ACES in Richland Center, WI)

During my YES exchange year in the United States, I discovered many passions that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore in my hometown. Upon returning to Morocco, I realized that youth in my community lack opportunities to showcase their potential. Regrettably, many schools in my area adhere to a system that prioritizes theoretical knowledge over practical skills. This leads young people unable to make an impact.

Maryame gesturing to a powerpoint

This was concerning to me! I know how transformative it is to provide youth with opportunities. How can we foster community development if our youth lack exposure to valuable experiences? As a result, I’ve established a local youth-driven club called “Youth Initiative for Change.” The club is dedicated to community service and hands-on learning. We aim to demonstrate the ability of young people to effect change in our communities.

Up to now, our volunteering initiatives have included conducting outreach to homeless populations and nursing homes. Furthermore, we’ve facilitated opportunities for members to express their passions and interviews through drawing and crafting competitions and trivia nights. This is just the beginning of our plans, and we have many additional programs planned for our members and communities.

Thanks to my participation in the YES program, I’ve acquired life skills that I am now using to make a difference in my community. This is just the initial step, and I can’t wait for larger, more impactful projects in the future.