2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act; a landmark legislation that was written to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same rights as persons without disabilities in America. YES program is an inclusive program that welcomes students of all abilities, such as Musuleng Natasha Jackson, "Tasha" (YES 2017-18, Liberia, placed by PAX in Vancouver, WA) who is blind.
Not only was Tasha able to go on the YES program in 2017-18, but she also attended the Inclusivity Workshop in Ghana in October 2019. At the Inclusivity Workshop she met with 16 other solution oriented YES alumni to discuss how to develop resources and ideas to advance YES program inclusivity efforts. Tasha also attended skill-building sessions for the alumni participants to strengthen advocacy, teamwork, and leadership skill.
Tasha explains that the YES program has expanded her horizon, and as a result she is able to understand how capable and full of potential persons with disabilities are. Since returning from the U.S., she has been working to help other persons with disabilities in Liberia have the same realization.
Tasha says, "For me, YES is defined as a life changing program; that is, it changes an individual both morally, mentally, physically, and personally.
"While I was in the US as an exchange student, I developed my life philosophy: disability is not measure by the loss of ones senses, but by ones inability to positively contribute to the society and the world at large.
"Rejection elevates the pains of disability, but acceptance reduces the effectiveness of disability."