YES Programs



Working Towards “Self Love”

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By Medina Bilalli (YES 2019-2020, Kosovo, placed with Access in Canton, IL)

Youth across the world have joined the self-care movement. This can be seen across social media platforms that have been filled with content promoting self-care and raising awareness about the issue. For young people today there is a push for self-acceptance and respecting others. 

Jonila Shehu (YES 2019-2020, Kosovo, placed with ACES in Colona, IL), inspired by this new trend, started an awareness campaign in Kosovo. She noticed that there were no resources available to people her age to promote self-care and was motivated to fill that gap. 

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To achieve this goal, she started a new club at her local high school in Gjakove, called the “Self Love Club.” Her idea was to host weekly discussions about mental health and brainstorm ideas for activities with her classmates that promote self-care within their community. Club members would then be able to implement these ideas and host sessions!

With this idea in mind, she applied for a grant at the UPSHIFT Workshop, administered by UNICEF Kosovo and UNICEF’s Global Innovation Center, and she won! Jonila used the awarded funds to create and decorate a club meeting room at her school where meetings and events will be held. The club members worked together to create the meeting space they dreamed of and, in doing this, it gave them the opportunity to get to know each other.  

The “Self Love Club" will be a key resource for students at Gjakove High School. It will provide a space for students to focus on their mental health and spread positivity within their community. Jonila hopes that this initiative will inspire other students to implement similar activities and to raise awareness about ways to care for themselves.