Wednesday, April 01, 2009

YES Afghanistan Exchange Student Success Story

Terry Dougherty and Asad at the SOLA confernece in VT
From SOLA Conference

This message was sent to me by Kara Lozier, the YES Afghanistan Exchange Student Coordinator in Vermont. Please contact her if you are interested in helping Asad build the Bamyan Library he has planned. I met Kara and Asad at Ted Achilles organizing conference in Brandon, VT last month.

Fwd: Asad's Journey - the latest chapter

From: Kara Lozier <>

Dear friends,

Many of you followed Asad's activities while he was in the U.S. last year. He and I have not been able to keep in touch with all of you. Some of you have received news of this current year, but I wanted to be sure to reach all of you who had an interest in and affection for Asad.

Most of you know that Asad was given a full scholarship by the Lyndon Institute to return to the U.S. for his senior year of high school. He made a presentation there on March 13th of last year to promote his efforts to raise money for the Bamiyan library. First he spoke at an all-school assembly of approx. 700 people, then he had an exhibit with information about Afghanistan and about the library during all four lunch periods. After that he went to the middle school and made a presentation there. On our way across the parking lot, one of the organizers asked if Asad would be interested in attending their school this year. He said "sure" and the wheels started turning until May 8th when he received notice that the school would grant him a full scholarship.

Asad has had a great year at the Lyndon Institute (L.I.) up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He refers to it as the North Pole, but has maintained his sense of humor in spite of the ton of snow up there. It was a year to really focus on his studies and prepare for the SAT and TOEFL exams. This was necessary to improve his chances of getting another full scholarship to study in an American college. Unfortunately, that meant putting the library project on hold. That was a real struggle. After working so hard last year, it was a challenge for Asad to put the project on the back burner. He had hoped that some of the new YES-Afghan students would help, but that never happened. The cost of the project has increased and raising the rest of the money is his priority as soon as he graduates from L.I. on May 31st. It will be his summer job!

The GREAT news is - focusing on his studies paid off!! On March 4th he was notified that he was chosen for the "Make a Difference" scholarship at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. This scholarship was created to reward incoming freshman "whose unique sense of social awareness calls them to action; a person whose selfless devotion to a cause not only changes the lives of those in need, but inspires others to answer the same call to action." The scholarship will cover four years of room, board, tuition and fees at this small Vermont liberal arts college about 60 miles north of us (not quite the North Pole).

Asad has started making presentations again, is trying to secure scholarships for other YES-Afghan students and continues to mentor friends and relatives back in Afghanistan. On March 11th we learned that his younger sister, Adelah, was chosen as a new YES scholarship recipient. American Councils has allowed my family to host her, so she will be attending Mount Anthony Union High School in the fall of 2009. Asad and his sister will be able to spend holidays together and see each other during their school breaks as extended and very valued members of our family. We are all so happy and proud.

I know that many of you enjoyed following Asad's life while he was with us last year. Your love, support and kindness really helped Asad to reach his goals. It's what inspired him to set his goals so high and to undertake such an ambitious project. That project, though it's not complete, has rewarded Asad in so many ways. He met unbelievable people, his confidence grew, he was exposed to the warmth and generosity of the American public, his English improved, he got a scholarship to finish high school in the U.S. and now a full, 4-year scholarship for college. He views these not as personal rewards, but as the tools that will help him to be an instrument of change when he returns to Afghanistan. He remains committed to rebuilding his war-torn homeland and has overcome every obstacle placed in his way.

Asad's future is bright. It's been a joy to witness all of his growth and accomplishments. I'm only sharing this with people who I think will share that joy.

Warmest regards,

Kara Lozier
Community Coordinator - Host Mom
American Councils for International Education

1 comment:

Terry Dougherty said...

Click here to listen to interview with Kara, Asad and Samad