Youth Action Forum Participant Impact Spotlight: Yasma Ba’albaki 253

Youth Action Forum Participant Impact Spotlight: Yasma Ba’albaki

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When Yasma Ba’albaki, 13, Youth Action Forum participant and daughter of Middle East Leadership Initiative (MELI) Fellow Karim Ba’albaki, was admitted to the hospital in Lebanon in June of 2020, she stayed in the ward for children cancer patients in order to make space for COVID-19 positive patients in other areas of the hospital.

“I used to hear [the cancer patients] crying all the time and screaming and just the parents sitting outside with anxiety on their face,“ Yasma said. “It was just horrible to see.”

9967752dc5c36788e5ef000a9def0ab9-huge-scCompelled to help in any way she could, Yasma and her mother started to draw cards and made bracelets, headbands, and DIY masks and gifted them to children cancer patients. What started as an activity to help fill up her long afternoons soon becameFeel 2 Heal” a powerful initiative that supports the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL) and Middle East Eating Disorders Association (MEEDA) by donating proceeds made from selling homemade greeting cards. Yasma began sharing her work on Instagram, which quickly gained a following as she continued to post, and received multiple major donations to support her initiative.

Creating the cards by hand are what makes them charming and personal, Yasma mentioned. As the number of orders increase, she is looking for ways to scale Feel 2 Heal and hopes to engage others in joining her cause by making cards together.

Yasma says her father, MELI Fellow Karim Ba’albaki, serves as a source of inspiration for her as a young leader.

“[My dad] is always somebody who cares about the wellbeing of everyone,” Yasma said. In addition to modeling after her dad, attending the 2018 Youth Action Forum was a key experience that empowered Yasma to step up and lead this initiative.

“[The Youth Action Forum] had a big impact on who I wanted to become and what I wanted to do,“ Yasma explained. “Without the [Forum], I wouldn’t have realized my passion for helping others and for making a difference in the world.”

Yasma shared how pivotal the text-based seminars were in helping her to think deeply about her own values. She also recalled how meaningful the connections with other Youth participants - who shared her interest in challenges impacting their communities - were to her. It was unique to be surrounded by peers who shared a similar mindset of action and leadership.

Continuing her leadership journey, Yasma is spreading the word about Feel 2 Heal. She hopes this support will lead to more orders and more donations so she can continue this work ensuring her community feels cared for. “I would like to inspire other people to create other initiatives like mine,” Yasma said. “To help with the world and the situation we are in right now.”

Learn more about Feel 2 Heal on Instagram.

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Inspired by Yasma’s experience at the Youth Action Forum?

Registration is open now for the 2021 Resnick Aspen Action and the 2021 Youth Action Forum. We’re excited to ignite multi-generational conversations through youth programming that will include classic text-based seminars, intergenerational plenaries, and collaborative projects with our partners Videos for Change. You can register your child at the same time you register yourself through the form on your AGLN Dashboard.
Blog Youth Action Forum 03/26/2021 4:49pm EDT

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When Yasma Ba’albaki, 13, Youth Action Forum participant and daughter of Middle East Leadership Initiative (MELI) Fellow Karim Ba’albaki, was admitted to the hospital in Lebanon in June of 2020, she stayed in the ward for children cancer patients in order to make space for COVID-19 positive patients in other areas of the hospital. “I used to hear [the ...

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