YES Programs



May YES Student of the Month

Roepesh standing with a friend in a classroom, waving to the camera.

Top: Roepesh (left) with a friend at his GYSD project.

We are pleased to announce Roepesh Sohan from Suriname as May’s YES Student of the Month. Roepesh is placed by World Link in Visalia, California, where he attends El Diamante High School. 

Roepesh is well known on his host school campus and in his host community by his community service. As a  a cultural ambassador for Suriname, Roepesh has made over 30 presentations about his country and culture and is skillful at making his audience “feel as if they were in Suriname.” At the start of the school year, Roepesh joined Interact, Key Club, Green Club, and Associated Student Body (ASB) at El Diamante High School. As a member of Green Club, Roepesh served as a camp counselor for SCICON, a multi-day outdoor natural science and conservation program, encouraging 5th and 6th graders to care about the environment. He made such an impact that he won the “Best Counselor” award!  

When Roepesh returns home, he’ll be leaving a lasting impact on the school community through his Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) project, “Special Miner’s Day.” Roepesh noticed that disabled students were being neglected and left out by peers. Growing up, he witnessed a close family member unable to make friends due to their disability. He was inspired to use his GYSD activity to provide this group a chance to feel loved, make friends, and break down barriers. Roepesh created a three-part GYSD activity that did just that. First, he asked students to write appreciation letters to their peers with disabilities, collecting over 100 letters to give out. One student received 20 letters specifically written to him. Teary-eyed, he told Roepesh he never realized how loved he was. For the second activity, Roepesh initiated “High Five Day” and saw high fives happening all over campus, especially with students with special needs, bringing his entire school campus together. Finally, he organized a craft day with painting name bracelets, played trivia, and ending with treats provided by Roepesh’s host dad’s bakery. Because the project was such a success, Roepesh plans to work with Miners Connect, to keep the project going annually. Roepesh reflected, “This project made me realize how big of an impact a project can have on a community.”

Roepesh and his host family have grown close over the past year and will miss him when he returns to Suriname. When talking about Roepesh, his host dad described him as “a wonderful example of what a young person can do when they do everything with all their heart! He will achieve whatever he desires in his future!”

We couldn’t agree more and are so proud of all Roepesh has accomplished as a YES student. Congratulations again to Roepesh Sohan, our May YES Student of the Month from Suriname!