YES Programs



Life After YES

Youssef at the State Department in front of a lineup of flags

By: Youssef Badawy (YES 2019-2020, Kuwait, placed by CIEE in Nampa, ID)

Life after YES has been an exhilarating journey, brimming with personal growth. The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program ignited within me a passion for service. The program instilled a deep desire to leave a positive impact wherever I tread. As an alum, I've remained steadfast in my commitment to this mission.

Recently, I reached a significant milestone in my service journey: completing my 1000th hour of community service work and receiving a nomination for the most influential 20 under 20 in the Gulf region. In Egypt, amidst the bustling streets of Rafah, I humbly contributed to sending aid to Palestinians in need. Each hour spent in service served as a gentle reminder of the power of compassion and collective effort.

However, my journey doesn't end there. In collaboration with QS ImpACT, a global charity working towards creating a more equitable world, I embarked on a new venture: “Empowering Futures: Education for Resilient Youth in North Kivu”. Alongside my team, I developed a delivered a series of educational modules tailored to three key age groups of children in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (5-7 years, 8-10 years, and 11-13 years old). This initiative emerged as a response to the urgent needs of children facing adversity in a region marked by turmoil and disasters. Our mission was simple: to ignite hope in the hearts of these children, to equip them with the tools to overcome challenges, and to empower them to shape their destinies. Every effort was tailored to meet the specific needs of the community, ensuring equitable access to quality education for every child.

From designing educational content to organizing workshops and community events, every step of our journey was guided by a shared vision of a brighter tomorrow. Despite the obstacles we encountered, we pressed on with unwavering determination, grounded in the belief that collective action can bring about meaningful change.

Life after YES has revealed to me the impact of service and the potential of youth. Through initiatives like "Empowering Futures," I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of kindness and education. As I continue this journey, I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and humbled by the chance to contribute to a better world.