Yena Balekyani is an entrepreneur, political organizer/policy analyst, mentor and she is also the founder of a community-driven nonprofit that empowers Congolese girls and youth through education, mentorship, networking, and volunteer opportunities! Her nonprofit’s mentorship program focuses and incorporates the involvement of parents in their child’s journey in high school and beyond. She is active in the community and often helps where she can. I came to the United States as a refugee, and I first didn’t know what to do and where to start. Because of the condition, I was born into, it was often hard for me to imagine my potential and who I could one day be. Everyone around me was limited by our condition, so it was hard to imagine myself leading a different life or even as someone who could impact a community. But I am glad I found Yena in my life. Yena helped me a lot in my education career and even updating myself to the US culture. Yeana made me understand different things in this country and she helped me to better navigate my transition from high school to college. The transition was not easy but she helped me to better understand what it takes to be successful in college, she often asks me for a time to meet and try to ask me different questions about my academic progress, she often drives extra miles so that she can come to help me. She helped me to go to different college’s visit and she also helped me to do different scholarship researches. I am the first child of my family to go to college, which means I didn’t know anything about college but Yena was always there to support me in every matter.
She currently mentors fourteen individuals in Iowa and across the nation as they transition from high school to college and into their careers. She even set up a weekend program to seat with different high school students and do ACT practices with them, help them understand their curriculum, help them understand the college life and what it takes to be successful in college and even in this country. Sometimes, she even takes a day off and trying to help those high school students and even college students who are in need of something which she can help. Yena She is an example to follow and she has inspired me a lot because she doesn’t care where you from, what church you go to and what language do you speak, she always there to help whenever you reach out to her. I believe, she has made a big impact in our local community and even beyond. Yena she believes in using her education and experiences to help others become the best version of themselves. For what Yena has done, I believe she has demonstrated the responsibility of being an African-American and she will always be my inspiration and my daily motivation. Thank you in advance for your consideration.