During their time in the U.S., one of the things that left a strong imprint on YES participants from Albania was the positive spirit surrounding the holiday season. This year, they decided to bring that holiday spirit to students at the School for Blind Children in Tirana in the form of a holiday show and party.
The idea started with Edi Gore ’10, who enlisted alumni coordinator Ilva Hamzaj ’11 and fellow alumni Boris Alibali ’11, Arbri Cungu ’10, Kristina Marku ’11 and Gledisa Perleka ’11 for help.
On December 20th, all 56 of the students who attend the School for Blind Children gathered in the school auditorium to see what the alumni had prepared for them. As an opening to the performance, Perleka led the students in several holiday-themed games, including a variation on “Twenty Questions” called “On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…” The show then began with Hamzaj singing a song entitled “Nobody’s Perfect” and encouraging the students in the audience to try and be as good as they can be. Next, Perleka returned to share some facts about the Christmas holiday and its origins. A tale about a kind donkey who was helped by Santa, told by Gore, followed. “This was the part that the students held the most silence during the whole show,” recalled Hamzaj. After Hamzaj sang the final song of the show, the alumni invited students from the audience to share their own talents. Five students came on stage and performed songs and poems.
After the show, the alumni surprised the students by bringing out a holiday package filled with snacks for each of them. They then stayed for another hour, talking with the students and learning about their lives, while also sharing about themselves and their time in the U.S.
“By the end, everyone was happy for the activity and sad to leave,” Hamzaj observed. Gore’s reaction to the day’s events was asking himself, “Why haven’t I been coming to these activities before?!” and pledging, “I will definitely be part of every single one that we organize in the future!”