The March YES Student of the Month, Narisa Lumambas (YES 2017-2018, the Philippines, hosted by World Link in Hanford, CA), recently received three “Outstanding Student” awards from her host school, Hanford West High School in Hanford, CA. This was no surprise to those who know the student from the Philippines. Narisa boasts a 4.0 GPA while rehearsing the lead dance role in the upcoming school musical, The Little Mermaid, and rooting for the basketball team as a cheerleader. She has given 28 cultural presentations at various school and community events. Narisa is a committed member of several service clubs, including the Soroptimist Club or “S-Club,” Key Club, and Leo’s Club. Her volunteering passion has translated into 160 service hours in a variety of activities throughout her community.
One of Narisa’s first service activities was building exhibits for the new Children’s Story Book Garden and Museum, where she continues as a volunteer gardener. She has wrapped donations for foster children and socks for the homeless during the winter holidays and made blankets for a local women’s shelter. She used her new cheerleading skills to support disabled children during a special basketball game. She has also enjoyed providing meals for seniors and leading bingo at several nursing homes. She spent her spring break painting and drawing with children at an arts center. From serving food at charitable events to singing for patients at a health care center to working blood drives, Narisa happily dedicates her time to helping her host community.
The YES student has developed an ambitious Global Youth Service Day project idea. She is planning an “Asia Pacific Islander Conference,” for which she will bring a variety of speakers to her school to discuss different aspects of the diverse Asian and Pacific Island cultures. The conference, of course, will be open to people of all ethnicities.
Narisa admitted that, before her exchange year, she was afraid she would not be able to fulfill the high expectations of the YES program. Now, through her leadership activities, the love and support of her host family, and the acceptance she has felt from her American friends and her host community, Narisa is already becoming the leader she strives to be – as she puts it, “…a person who is not afraid of presenting her country, making a positive difference, being with new groups of people, trying new things, and bridging gaps over cultural differences."