By Hristina Trifunovska, YES Alumni Coordinator for Macedonia 2011-2012
Many students, when deciding whether or not apply for the YES program, ask what the benefits of the program are. That question has many answers, but the benefits cannot be felt until one goes on program as a student and comes back as an alum! This is what I’ll dedicate this article to: the YES alumni!
During the past year, Macedonian Alumni have led a slew of activities and have become leaders in their communities. The following summer events are just a small part of why we are proud of our alumni.
In June, our alumna Angela Dimeska ’11 won an award for best female supporting role at the Drama Amateur Festival. She was also awarded a certificate from a U.S. Embassy representative for her participation in an event organized by the American Corner: “Invest in your future – Youth Retreat 2012.”
In July, Simona Premcheska ’11 was chosen among 90+ other applicants to serve as a junior counselor alongside U.S. Peace Corps volunteers at this year’s Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) in Struga, Macedonia.
Angela and Noemi Chausidis ’11 were selected as participants for the “Common Goal” conference organized by the Montenegrin American Youth Alumni Association (MAYAA). This project, spearheaded by Ivan Vuksanovic, A-SMYLE Alumni Coordinator for Montenegro with support from Tara Djelic, A-SMYLE Alumni Coordinator for Serbia, brought together YES and A-SMYLE alumni from across the SEE region.
Many alumni had the amazing opportunity to attend a reception which was held for newly returned YES alumni and students about to depart for the U.S. on the YES program. Meeting all of them meant hearing great stories and life-changing experiences from the alumni and seeing excitement and restlessness from the new students.
Semra Ameti ’11 and I had the pleasure of attending a dinner event at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje where we met an official visitor from U.S. and members of the Youth Council in Macedonia. We also had an opportunity to discuss many issues in the lives of Macedonian youth.
Another extraordinary idea was implemented in a project named “Equal Access through Service Learning for Persons with Disabilities.” This huge event was organized by JFDP alumna Ana Lazarevska and the main goal of the project was to raise awareness of understanding attitudes towards persons with disabilities. Marija Indova ’12 and I volunteered at this six-hour event to show our support and to demonstrate our strong belief that activities like this will make our community a place where everyone can fulfill their own dreams.
I also had the pleasure of attending a reception organized by the U.S. Embassy in Skopje in honor of the Work & Travel Alumni and the Embassy Youth Council. I can truly say that it was a pleasure to have a chance to meet and talk with many students that have experienced U.S. and to share our different stories.
These stories are just a small part of what our YES Alumni were doing over the summer. I cannot end this text without mentioning all of the other alumni who have been very active and dedicated to alumni activities through the whole year. A huge Thanks! and Bravo! goes to them and to all of the people who helped in the realization of the many projects this year!