YES Programs



Cultivating Self-care and Community Wellbeing: YES Webinar

Introduction slide with date and time

On Wednesday, May 22nd, the YES program hosted the "Cultivating Self-care and Community Wellbeing" webinar for YES and YES Abroad alumni. In this session, webinar attendees explored foundational concepts of mental health and self-care, and they learned best practices for extending these concepts into their home communities to cultivate wellbeing through alumni projects.

"Cultivating Self-care and Community Wellbeing" featured three YES alumni guest speakers with experience implementing projects that destigmatize mental health and self-care to support community wellbeing. Following the guest speakers' presentations, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions in the Q&A portion of the event.

Meet the guest speakers:

Headshot of Dr. Mohammed Bello facing camera

Dr. Mohammed Mubarak Bello (YES 2009-2010, Nigeria, placed by IRIS in Ankeny, IA) is a former president of the KL-Yes Alumni Association in Nigeria and is currently a resident doctor at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria where he specializes in mental health. He has used knowledge gained from his exchange year and residency to make efforts towards organizing initiatives that combat stereotypes and reduce stigma around mental health. This includes his initiative titled "Complete Health for Girls", through which he organizes free talks for girls in secondary boarding schools in Kaduna to address topics such as personal hygiene and mental health. To date, more than 1000 girls have benefited from this initiative.

Headshot of Faly Seck facing camera

Faly Seck (YES 2019-2020, Senegal, placed by American Councils in Hope, AR) is a software engineering student at the African Leadership University. Previously, he worked as the Senegalese YES Program alumni coordinator from 2022-2023 during which time he led re-entry orientation events to provide a safe environment for alumni to initiate conversations about the impact of their exchange programs and reflections on mental health. As a mental health advocate and a passionate writer, in 2024 Faly published his first book with the African Leadership University online library, "Therapy is Banned in Africa". In this collection of short stories, Faly narrates the challenges of young Africans dealing with mental health issues alone in a call to action for access and destigmatization.

Headshot Rusol Allawi facing camera

Rusol Allawi (YES 2013–2014, Bahrain, placed by AFS in Geneva, IL) is a mental health advocate with experience implementing interactive alumni workshops. She discovered her love of psychology while attending Geneva High School in Geneva, Illinois during her exchange year, and she went on to graduate with a B.A. in Psychology from the American University in Cairo. In addition to implementing workshops, she also has over two years of experience leading mental health support groups providing actionable guidance to youth and adults. She works with Morshdy, a mental health app, where she contributes to the field of her passion: mental health and wellbeing. Rusol offers best practices for extending alumni self-care into projects that promote community wellbeing.