YASC celebrates its 15th year in 2023!
Since our founding in 2008, YASC has organized 27 programs around the world (9 countries, 5 US states and commonwealth of Puerto Rico), bringing together nearly 2,000 Yale alumni, family, and friends to build sustainable projects in under-served communities. Total hours of all participants combined for all of our programs amount to 148,000!
In 2022, we continued our online programming as a way to stay connected with each other and the communities we have served. We know that you are all looking forward to resuming travel and furthering the YASC mission, and we are delighted to return to in-country service programs to Puerto Rico and Peru in 2023. In addition, we are actively planning 2024 trips to Panama and Alaska. Scroll down for more info!
Virtual Service Projects
YASC Virtual Mentoring Program for Young Entrepreneurs in India
Working with Manzil, a local non-profit and youth-led learning center, YASC organized a unique virtual service project that helps young entrepreneurs in India. The program consisted of 10 YASC mentor-consultants for 10 entrepreneurs who were taking a business development course. YASC volunteers learned about these new endeavors and helped them grow through a series of virtual meetings.
Reflections on the Mentoring Experience
When Manzil decided to launch a business development course for young entrepreneurs (from both the for- and non-profit sectors) in 2022, they asked: could YASC provide long-distance mentor/consultants? Yes, we can!
One mentor-entrepreneur team shares their insights and observations: Jeff Harlowe ’77, a retired Levi's executive, and Rohit Negi, Coordinator at Udaan Educational Trust, which focuses on value-based learning to build stronger and safer communities.
How and why did you get involved?
Jeff: YASC sent out a request for volunteers. I couldn't join the India trips and I was missing the Business Consulting I had done on other in-person trips, so this seemed like a great fit.
Rohit: Initially I declined to participate because I had doubts whether I would be able to communicate during the weekly calls. Ravi Gulati, my advisor, and a co-founder of Manzil, urged me to join. He told me "If you want to learn to swim, you have to jump in the water!" From his mentor profile, Jeff seemed to have experience which could be useful to me. It was a little intimating, but I accepted the challenge.
How did it go at the beginning?
Jeff: Rohit reached out right away, and we set up a Zoom meeting schedule: Monday evening for me in San Francisco, Tuesday morning for him in Delhi. He was always prompt and well-prepared. During our first session, he asked if we could split our time between the Entrepreneurship program and career coaching. I was happy to oblige!
Rohit: Although I was hesitant, Jeff was very friendly, so it became easier very fast. Also, I was nervous about speaking English, but I realized it was more comfortable this way, one-on-one, for an hour, than in my coursework. I quickly saw that these sessions could help me.
How did the program benefit you?
Jeff: It was a delight to work with Rohit. I learned a lot about Indian culture, from wedding rituals to commute times and how to celebrate deities; I even felt like I'd gone through the Delhi heat wave of 2022! Rohit asked about American History, so I prepared short presentations on Early Hollywood, World War I, Mount Rushmore, and the San Francisco Elections Process. It was fun to update my teaching skills!
Rohit: Jeff helped me a lot with the classwork, finding parallels in his experiences with Levi's in Latin America. He also helped me with Udaan initiatives in social media and fundraising. We talked about movies, holidays, and food. Jeff completed several of the course assignments at the same time as I did, so we were both learning together!
Advice for future iterations of the mentorship program?
Jeff: It would be helpful for the mentors to have more information about course design and materials; once I learned that the second half would be based on "Habits of Successful People" I dusted off my copy! Also, I think we got lucky in that we had compatible personal styles. Chemistry is important, especially over Zoom.
Rohit: Structure is important: be on time and share notes between sessions. The program helped many of my classmates, who enjoyed their mentor connection. It also helps to have a lot of curiosity! I'm more comfortable speaking English and meeting visitors to Udaan now. Building a friendship with someone who at first seemed so different has really provided me a confidence boost.
Would you do it again?
Jeff: Sign me up!
Rohit: Now it's my turn to be a mentor to someone at Udaan!
Working Together: Our Common Future
A New Opportunity with Amrita University Alumni
YASC is delighted to announce Our Common Future, a collaborative effort with Amrita University alumni to develop and organize unique virtual service projects for Amrita alumni-led NGOs and under-served communities in India. We will celebrate our partnership and develop virtual mentoring, sharing, learning, and social opportunities for the YASC-Amrita alumni community on January 21 at 11 a.m. ET. During the participatory session, you will hear about ways that Yale alumni can work with Amrita alumni and students in business consulting and mentoring, education: virtual book clubs and teacher to teacher interactions, women's empowerment and gender equality, healthcare for the poor, and other areas you suggest.
YASC Virtual Book Club Continues in Cape Town
Article by Judy Kessen Crawford ’76, Ann Kennedy, PhD
YASC has continued the successful partnership with Amandla Development to promote a culture of reading with students in the township of Philippi, Cape Town, South Africa.
Following the success of the 2018 and 2019 in-person trips and previous virtual book club (2021), Judy Kessen Crawford ’76 and Ann Kennedy, PhD, organized a second book club in Feb/March of 2022 and are preparing to launch Part 3. Alums Jennifer Madar ’88 and Marysol Masse-Makimura ’97 were integral participants in the preparation of lesson plans and the guidance of discussion with the 9th grade learners.
To promote a love of reading for pleasure and making personal connections to literature, the organizers designed activities centered around the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, based on the true story of Salva Dut. Interactive virtual discussions were held as after-school activities at Amandla’s Safe Space in Philippi for a total of 9 sessions over a five-week period. Learners from Grade 9 participated with the support of Amandla Student Mentors to read the text, prepare for virtual group discussion, and express personal connections to the text through written discussion and artistic expression. These student creations were compiled into a Slide Deck which was shared with participants.
Anathi Mabilwana, Amandla Development Coordinator, has received positive feedback from learners and school personnel with requests to continue the program. The learners expressed their inspiration with words such as “never give up,” “hope makes us grow,” and “carry on.” A new group of learners from Philippi will meet virtually twice a week in February/March 2023 to read and discuss A Long Walk to Water. Information will be collected through an interest inventory to guide future program design.
YASC Virtual Book Club-Puerto Rico
Building on the success of the YASC trip to Puerto Rico in March 2020, and working in collaboration with our YASC ground partner Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE), we organized a pilot virtual book club in spring 2022 for kindergartners from Escuela Montessori Bernarda Robles de Hevia, an elementary school in an under-served community in San Juan.
The program was led by Andrew Burgie ’87, trip producer for YASC Puerto Rico 2023, and Julie Wong ’86, teacher and participant of YASC Puerto Rico 2020. Classes were conducted in Spanish involving animal stories. If you are a Spanish speaker and would like to get involved in future opportunities like this, please email João Aleixo.
YASC Virtual Consulting Program for Micro-Businesses in Brazil
Working in collaboration with Industria Tabôa, YASC and Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (UESC) organized a unique virtual service project in the community of Serra Grande, Bahia (site of our YASC trips in 2016 and 2017) that helps local micro-businesses. The project consisted of a series of monthly virtual meetings that combined teaching and consulting in each session.
Clients consisted of five micro-enterprises such as clothing/apparel, food/bakery, custom handicrafts, and massage therapist. Curriculum included general accounting, cash flow, financial markets, marketing and social media, and business strategy. Each team of YASC volunteer consultants was supported by UESC student translators for each business.
2023 Trips to Puerto Rico and Peru
March 11 - 19, 2023
There are only a few slots available!
Preparations are under way for our return service trip to Puerto Rico in March 2023. Join us and work in the community of Cantera, an under-served and densely populated neighborhood in San Juan. Working alongside our ground partner Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE), a non-profit organization whose mission is bringing Montessori education to public schools and supporting the families of enrolled students, we anticipate offering projects in athletics, construction, education, environment, and public health. For more information consult the trip webpage.
July 8 - 16, 2023 (Service Program)
July 16 -20, 2023 (Extension to Cuzco and Machu Picchu)
Register now for our service trip to Nauta in July 2023! Visit and work in three Kukama communities in this most isolated and neglected part of Peru along the Marañón River, a tributary of the Amazon. Support the local people and our partner Minga Peru in their efforts in environmental conservation, education, artisan leadership, and knowledge of basic healthcare. Note that transportation to the communities each day is by boat, in keeping with the habits of Nauta. For more information consult the trip webpage.
YASC Cross Cultural Cookbook
We are excited to announce that we are putting together an exciting new YASC concept – the YASC Cross Cultural Cookbook! One of the most meaningful ways we share during our trips as well as virtually is through community meals and food. Even while the pandemic challenged our ability to travel, many of us created virtual connections that brought us together for service and enjoyment through food.
To honor our history of eating together in many different corners of the world, YASC is creating an annotated cookbook, and we are looking forward to sharing it you with in 2023! Our YASC cookbook will be much more than recipes; it will also include stories of our shared experiences inspired by food.
2024 Trips to Panama and Alaska
YASC in Panama
March 2024 (final dates TBD)
YASC is exploring a service trip to Panama in March 2024. We are in discussions with Yale partners and alumni on campus and in Panama to identify non-profit organizations that serve communities in need.
YASC in Alaska
July 19-29, 2024
Organized in collaboration with Sitka Fine Arts Camp, we are planning a trip to Sitka, Alaska for the summer of 2024. The mission of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp is to build community in Alaska by providing opportunities in arts, culture, and recreation in an inclusive, educational, and inspirational environment.
YASC Sharing during Celebrate Service Week
YASC volunteers joined other Yale alumni for the second Celebrate Service Week in events to talk about virtual service. These events provided an opportunity to find inspiration, connect with like-minded alumni, and learn about how to get involved with your community. The YASC panels discussed virtual programs in India – facilitator training for supporting young people on their personal journey and mentoring – and the upcoming trips to Puerto Rico and Peru. If you did not have an opportunity to join us, you can watch on demand!
Yale Day of Service and YASC
YASC volunteers take part in the Yale Day of Service every year and that continued in 2022.
This year, alumni communities hosted close to 125 service projects engaging more than 1,000 volunteers in the U.S. and abroad. We are grateful for all alumni, family, and friends who joined us this year, and we would like to extend a special thanks to the following YASC volunteers who took on leadership roles:
- Aliyar Fouladkhah ’14 MPH / Regional Director, Nashville, TN
- Karen Green ’78 / YDOS Co-Chair
- Arikha Moses ’98 PhD / Co-Regional Director, New York, NY
- Alfred Renaud ’97 / Regional Director, Canada
- Alexia Robinson / Regional Director, Washington State
- Connie Spencer / Regional Director, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Site Coordinator/Co-Regional Director Opportunities!
Yale Day of Service is currently looking for Yale volunteers to fill vacancies as site coordinators or co-regional directors in : Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California (southern), Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York State (excluding NYC), Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. We would also like to fill international vacancies in Africa, Australia, Europe, India, Latin America, and Caribbean.
Given the popularity of the 2022 T-shirts designed by Doonesbury cartoonist and Day of Service Garry Trudeau ’70, ’73 MFA, Yale Day of Service is excited to launch its first ever T-Shirt Design Contest! Review the official rules and guidelines and send your design to Yale Day of Service by December 30, 2022!