It's never too late to join the YMCA by Ylli

Coming straight from Italy, feeling lost for a couple of months in Kosovo and finding my way back to the new home called YMCA, this how my journey sounds so far, but let me get into the details. 

Ylli at the Gjakova Y

Back in September (2019) I returned in Kosovo after one year of european voluntary service (EVS) that I did in Turin (Italy) in a community center named Il Passo Social Point. It was an unforgettable experience that I will always remember as the best period of my life, but as they say  "the show must go on" and so it did.  During the first three months of my comeback in Kosovo, I started working on a job that I didn't like and that I couldn't share my creativity. I was feeling frustrated and a bit lost. People who know me well, they know how much I love working with young people, so I started applying in every job that was related to human interaction. One late night evening, when I was ready to give up, I recieved an unexpected phone call from the YMCA. They wanted me to work with them as a Youth Worker; I can’t describe how happy I was feeling because finally I could start working with young people again and express my creativity in different ways in an organization such as YMCA. 

I remember my first day in YMCA, where I immediately started collaborating with my new colleagues and when I started helping them in organizing UP-SHIFT. For people who don’t know what UP-SHIFT is; it’s an opportunity to support youth and adolescents to become a force for positive social and economic change, where youngsters come up with their ideas to make a positive impact in society and present these ideas in front of jury. As I always said when I went around Europe, we (Kosovo) have one of the most talented and ambitious youth in the world and UP-Shift program proved to me that I wasn't wrong when I said that. Seeing all these young people coming up with some great ideas and presenting them with such an enthusiasm was making my heart beat with excitment.

Ylli with the UPSHIFT team- most are YMCA colleagues

Later, I started getting involved for the first time in leadership training's that are organized by YMCA Kosovo for youth, and believe me or not I always wanted to do something that empowers youth and finally being able to do that was a dream come true for me. Seeing all these teenagers coming together with one purpose to have fun and learn with each other, made me reflect even more how much impact my work can have in their lives. Moreover I started interacting with youth leaders and I saw in them passion, leadership and most importantly good intentions. I understood that these people one day will lead our country and I will be proud to live that day.

Ylli with Gjakova youth in the YMCA

I remember last week one girl was saying to me "this is my home and the place where I spent all my time for the last few years", then I started thinking why I didn’t spend my teenage years in this place, I would learn a lot of things and I would meet a lot of people. Anyway it’s never too late to be part of YMCA; here I am now, learning many things each day and having the best time of my life.

 YMCA it’s not just place, it’s my new home now and I am proud to be a member of this big family that is located all around the world. 


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