In December 2015, the YES Alumni Malaysia Committee discussed about how the alumni can help the YES participants who will be hosted in USA during the cold winter.

n December 2015, the YES Alumni Malaysia Committee discussed about how the alumni can help the YES participants who will be hosted in USA during the cold winter. We figured an initiative to provide winter clothing would be beneficial for the YES 2016 participants. We reached out to the AFS Malaysia Returnee Alumni Group on Facebook and we managed to gather various support from the returnees and alumni.

But how did it all started in the first place? We asked Deanna Anuar Anis, the alumna who initiated the first YES Winter Clothing Collection back in 2011.

The YES Program students from Malaysia depart to USA in the middle of the cold winter in January. Therefore, winter clothing is an essential need for the students as temperatures can reach as low as -20 degree Celsius.

What is the Winter Clothing Initiative?

“It is an initiative to prepare our fellow YES participants for their new exchange journey. It is to make sure they have the basic needs to go through the cold winters in their new host community.” – Deanna Anuar Anis

The spirit of goodwill has always been a part of Deanna, the alumna from YES 2009 was also the individual who started the Smile for Change project in 2010, an effort by YES Alumni Malaysia to raise funds and awareness about poverty in children’s lives where all proceeds from the project were donated to the Women’s Aid Organization’s Child Care Centre.

Deanna Anuar Anis, YES 2009 Alumna

What inspired you to initiate this Winter Clothing collection?

“It all began when I was actively volunteering back in 2011 and I was very involved with the YES 2011 batch. From their first Selection Camp until their Departure day and their return home, I was very close to all of them and cared for them like they were my own “kids”, so I wanted to prepare them with everything.I found out a few of them did not have proper winter jackets, so that gave me the idea of providing it for them and kind of leaving it with YES Alumni Malaysia for future use and for the upcoming batches.” – Deanna Anuar Anis

YES 2016 students, at their briefing at KLIA.

What was the first step you did to make this initiative a reality?

“I went with my mom to the Bundle Shops and picked out around 6-10 jackets. I washed them all and brought them to the airport. I started going around and checking all of the student’s attire and whoever had just a light sweater had a winter jacket handed to them.” – Deanna Anuar Anis

Deanna with a YES 2011 participant at their Farewell Luncheon at the US Ambassador’s Residence
in Kuala Lumpur right before the participants departed to the USA for their exchange.


How did the initiative help to benefit the participants on the program?

“Obviously, they kept the student’s warm, but I benefitted the most because it made me feel good. When they came back, they returned the jackets to me with some gifts in the pocket. It’s a small initiative but it made a huge impact to the student’s and everyone involved.” – Deanna Anuar Anis

On behalf of YES Alumni Malaysia, we would like to thank alumna Deanna for initiating this collection
and to all individual parties who helped and supported the initiative. Our special thanks and gratitude
goes to the following individuals who donated winter clothing:

Deanna Anuar Anis, YES Program Alumni, YES 2009
Datuk Chris Tan, Board of Directors of AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia
Brandon Lau, YES Program Alumni, YES 2015
Li Voon Loke, AFS Intensive Program Italy Returnee

Written by,

Johann Yap, YES 2010