By Victorie Daniela Soumano (YES 2017-2018, hosted by ASSE in Hardin, MT)
I had a life changing experience in United States of America during my exchange year with the YES program. When I came back to my home Ok Koutiala, Mali, I shared my experience with a lot of teenagers in schools, youth groups, and churches. They were amazed and didn’t know that such a program exists. That’s when I realized that more people need to hear about the program and need to be encouraged to apply for it.
After sharing my experience, there were a lot of people who wanted to know more about YES. So, I created a club for those who want more information and who want to apply for the program. So far, the club has 15 members.
The club meets once a week. At first I explain to them what the YES program is, the history, the goals, how to participate, and the criteria to be eligible.
After they clearly understand what the YES program is all about, I give them some English courses to help improve their English. For those who are eligible to apply, I help them with their documents.
I also share with them things I learned in the U.S. such as leadership, community, and self-confidence.
The YES program has positively changed my life. I want don’t want to be selfish and keep it to myself. I want other Malian teens to have this same amazing experience.