Gloria Quive, YES 2014-15, Mozambique, hosted with AFS in Ridgefield, WA
I am Gloria, a YES alumna from Mozambique hosted in Ridgefield, in the evergreen state of Washington. I was hosted by the Shelton family. During my exchange year, I participated in community activities from volunteering every weekend at Hope with Hope, a nursing home where I’d spend time drawing, playing games and painting nails for the elderly residents; volunteering after school at Pleasant Valley Primary School setting up classrooms, grading papers, and assisting with lesson planning. I remember that I would always share stories with people around me about my home country and how my exchange year was going. I truly saw the importance and power of sharing and talking about the YES Program, especially during and after International Education Week. Many people greeted me, even people I didn't know, to say "Hey, Gloria tell me more about your country and culture.” You can impact other people's lives with a simple act and a smile.
Since returning from YES, I have been an active volunteer assisting with YES recruitment, visiting schools to promote the program, conducting interviews and orientations. My YES year changed my life, it has brought me so many great opportunities to grow and be more caring. Now, I'm a college student majoring in Human Resources Management and I hope to use what I'm learning, and the skills gained from YES, to implement a more impactful project in my community!
I would like to share an important event that inspired me to take that action. Recently over 40 alumni from Mozambique, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana and South Africa participated in a YES alumni regional Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop covered project management, changemaking and strategic planning, to help us build our alumni networks. We also took time to visit a nearby slum area to witness first-hand how community service projects are making a difference in the neighborhood and what makes them successful. Thank you everyone who made this workshop possible and successful.
After returning from this workshop, I realized that my birthday is on International Day of Peace. I decided to celebrate by sharing how youth can use their passions to implement a project and/or volunteer with an existing project. I would like to contribute in guiding young people to be positive and more appreciative of diversity.
On September 24th, I delivered a presentation to my college classmates about the YES program and how it shaped me into who I am today. I also shared some of the strategies and tips I learned on project management and changemaking.
My presentation led to a debate on diversity, which was one of the most powerful parts of my activity. I loved hearing their thoughts and sharing my experience navigating different cultures on the YES program. With this small event, the participants learned how we can make our communities a peaceful place by appreciating our differences. The YES program is about breaking down barriers and building peace. My special thanks to alumnus and YES coordinator Arsenio Penga for encouraging and supporting me.