YES Programs



May YES Student of the Month

Almedina smiling in front of the Kosovo flag

The YES program proudly announces Almedina Skenderi of Kosovo as the YES May Student of the Month. Almedina is placed by World Link in Palmer Lake, CO, where she attends Palmer Ridge High School.

Almedina smiling stirring batter

Almedina identifies as Romani and has dedicated her exchange year to educating others about her rich cultural heritage. On top of presentations throughout her host community, Almedina’s speech, “I am Romani” won multiple awards in speech and debate tournaments. Her speech discussed the issues Romani people face, how they are perceived, and how societies can act to eliminate discrimination. Almedina's Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) project, "Help Romani Kids Thrive in Education," raised awareness and collected donations to enhance the quality of education for Romani children. With support from the Student Council, Key Club, the Real Alternative to Drugs and Drinking (RAD), and YMCA program peers, she organized several fundraisers to raise awareness and funds for her project. She partnered with a pizza restaurant to donate a portion of sales to the cause for which she raised nearly $900 for a nonprofit in Kosovo supporting the education of Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian minorities.

Almedina smiling with two firefighters

Almedina has a passion for service, dedicating 100 hours to her host community. Most recently, she volunteered for the Special Olympics, packed lunch bags for the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission, and sold t-shirts for Make-A-Wish Week. Being an active member of Key Club, she set up Literacy Night at school, worked the art table during a STEM event, made holiday cards for the homeless, and prepared 400 snack bags for low-income students. With her dance team, she taught little girls during a dance clinic. Many of her Friday nights have been dedicated to a variety of RAD events, giving teens an alternative to underage partying. Almedina is a dynamic, strong, and confident leader. Her positive attitude, openness, and outgoing personality have made hosting her a delight. Her host mom shared, “Almedina is full of joy. Our life is richer by being her parents this year. We know we have contributed to a world changer.”

Congratulations to Almedina on her successful year and being the May YES Student of the Month!