By Faisal Alammari (YES 2007-2008, Saudi Arabia, hosted by PAX in Indiana)
I was 15 years old when I attended the YES program and playing sports was my thing. I joined six sports in my host community. The first sport I joined was cross-country, where we had to run harder and further every day until the season ended. When I joined, my host mom, Deborah Ballenger, who was also a great P.E. teacher, taught me something I never forgot: “You are now taking someone else’s place, so don’t think of quitting or failing.”
From that moment, I started applying two major features - discipline and consistency. This helped me improve and rise up to the challenge. I began applying this theory to everything around me, such as my job ethics and my life journey. It made me succeed in everything I wanted to work on, after the grace of God of course.
It made me realize the difference between movement and progress, because hard work, works! Working really hard is what successful people do, so I continued to strive and to complete my goals in life no matter what the consequences were. This is how I became who I am today. I am the author of the book, Different Edge, and a full-time consultant mechanical engineering.
On the YES program I also learned about the joy of helping others. There is truly nothing better than the gratification and goodness that comes to me from serving others. This is what led me to co-found a volunteering group called “We Dream”. We visit abandoned kids, kids with cancer, and elders to make sure that they are still a great part of this world.
Finally, YES taught me to always be thankful for what I have and to be thankful for what is already mine. For anything we want, we can claim it, and with no doubt, work hard to get it. Once we get it, reach back, pull someone else up! Don’t only work hard to make a living, work hard to make a difference.
“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change” Barbara Mikulski.