A BRIEF STORY OF MY EXCHANGE YEAR.
It all started in 2010 when I was selected as a YES scholar. I travel to the United States to study for one academic year. As an Exchange Student, I was placed in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Youth for Understanding USA as my Placement Organization. I lived with the Lipka/Greeley Family and attended Ann Arbor Public School (Skyline).
At school, I learned and experienced new things that enabled me to discover more about myself. With the help of my host family, I learned about the American culture and shared Liberian culture through volunteerism. Looking back at sub-Sahara Africa especially Liberia where I came from, I was very passionate about making change in my Community back home.
With this idea of a community based project and the tireless effort of my host parents and area representative Jenny McKillop, I was able to do a book project in order to establish reading room back home that enables students have access to books for research. Countless people in the Ann Arbor community contributed over a 1000 textbooks and novels to the reading room project.
AS YES ALUMNI
Returning home as YES Alumni, I realized that a lot has changed about me such as having more tolerance, being open minded, self-confident and positive about making the difference in my community. I than teamed up with the other alumni to embark community services such as setting up the reading room and promoting it, civil education on road safety regulation, awareness of peaceful and non-violence election, enhancing student and young woman capacity among other project.
Over the year, the reading room has been great help to high school students and the general public. Students who use the reading room for research and home work assignment often appreciated the effort of every individual that donated books and contributed to the project. Some students recommend that iearn-Liberia, YES Alumni, and all those that help during the books drift might help again by adding one or two laptop computer with internet to access to the library resources.
It is in this light that the YES Alumni are asking to help buy one or two second handed computer to put it in the reading room for the students. The executive director of Iearn-Liberia has promised to help with internet access.
– Mohammed: Exchange Student from Liberia to Michigan