YES Programs



YES Celebrates Global Youth Service Day 2020

Collage of photos of YES students doing GYSD projects



Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) celebrates and encourages young people around the world to make a positive global impact by sharing their time and efforts to improve their communities. This year, GYSD happened April 17-19 and because of limited mobility due to the coronavirus, many people around the world brainstormed innovative ways to stay involved with GYSD while following world health advisories. We urged all YES alumni to use this opportunity to raise awareness in their communities through social media and brainstorm ways of supporting those in need, while also taking care of themselves, their friends, and families. For some ideas for how you can continue to act for the common good during this time check out

The YES program supported YES students and alumni as they geared up for GYSD. During March and April, YES did a series of Instagram takeovers featuring five YES alumni with credible experience designing and implementing impactful Global Youth Service Day projects. Make sure to check out these takeovers in the Highlights on the YES program Instagram account or check out the video below as in these takeovers, YES alumni introduced us to their projects, community-oriented mindset, and ideas that can inspire you to create your own meaningful GYSD project.

Learn more about Global Youth Service Day on the official website. Below are the bios of alumni who contributed to the GYSD Instagram takeovers!

Zartaj Asim - Pakistan

Headshot of YES alumna, Zartaj Asim

Zartaj Asim (YES 2017-18, Pakistan, hosted by World Link in Freeburg, IL). While Zartaj was on program, her Global Youth Service Day Project 2018 “Spreading Smile” was recognized as one of the top World Link GYSD projects. Zartaj fundraised by tapping into her artistic talent and cultural background and gave henna tattoos at the local McDonald’s, Girl Scouts, and American Legion. Using the money raised through her henna, Zartaj was able to make 100 goody baskets for children in needy families to help them celebrate Easter. Once she returned to Pakistan, Zartaj continues her volunteering efforts, and frequently coordinates community service projects and uses her leadership skills to execute her projects. Her GYSD-2019 success story was published on YES program's official website, “Hand in Hand for Literacy.”

Fatima Umar - Nigeria

Headshot of YES alumna, Fatima Umar

Fatima Umar (YES 2017-18, Nigeria, hosted by YFU in Bay Village, OH). Fatima attended Bay High School and was an active member in multiple clubs, such as Key Club, softball, Multicultural Club, Books, Craft, and Games Group, and Tea Club. Fatima cites leading a GYSD project, completing more than 100 hours of community service, serving as the Junior Class representative of her school’s Key Club, attending Civic Education Workshop in D.C, tutoring youth at WCMA Masjid, and participating in the Cleveland Heart Walk to raise awareness on heart diseases and stroke as some of her most outstanding accomplishments. Fatima’s GYSD project was called “Socks Collection”, which was appropriately titled since she collected socks and donated them to a nonprofit that supports homeless people in Cleveland. Fatima collected 144 pairs of socks. 

Layan Al-Braik - Saudi Arabia

Headshot of YES alumna, Layan

Layan Al-Braik, (2018-19, Saudi Arabia, hosted by World Link in Des Moines, IA). Layan is a first year college student studying medicine, who has a passion for writing and woodworking. Layan has big dreams, and she says everyday she strives to achieve her vision. While on program in 2019, Layan was inspired to build birdhouses for her GYSD project after a conversation with her host mother about a flood and its impact on the environment. Layan decided to build birdhouses so she could help birds find homes, while also exposing the host community to more wildlife. At the time Layan was taking a woodworking class at her host school, so her teacher guided her in techniques to build the birdhouses. Layan explains because of her project she brought joy to the host community, while simultaneously giving birds freedom.

Brian Bright - Kenya

Headshot of YES alumnus, Brian Bright

Brian Bright (YES 2011-12, Kenya, hosted by PAX in Cheboygan, MI). Brian is an active YES alumni and for years has given back to his community. In 2019, he helped plan a GYSD activity for Kenyan YES alumni called #StoppingThePeriodOfShame, which is a movement aimed at eliminating shame over the natural process of menstruation. Alumni taught girls about menstrual hygiene and how to use the reusable pads. Brian explains it was a rewarding project, and both alumni and beneficiaries gained from the project.