On September 27, FLEX alumni across all Eurasian countries joined the social media campaign to express their gratitude and appreciation to everyone who supports the program and helps to make it successful. On FLEX Appreciation Day alumni wrote “Thank You” post cards to people who coordinated their FLEX year and made it unforgettable, such as host families, administrative and placement organization staff, U.S. high school teachers, Alumni Coordinators, City Representatives, and friends. On FLEX Appreciation Day, alumni used hashtag #ThankYouFLEX
Active FLEX alumni organized events in their cities to commemorate this day. In Kharkiv, Ukraine Yelyzaveta Mazharova ’12 (Kharkiv, Ukraine/Great Falls, MT) initiated a new tradition among alumni, FLEX T-Shirt Day on October 2nd, when alumni took pictures of themselves in FLEX T-shirts and posted the pictures on all social media networks using hashtag #FLEX_T_Shirt_Day. This idea will not only help promote the FLEX program but also spread awareness about alumni activities among a wider public. Alumni communities in Astana, Kazakhstan and Chisinau, Moldova held alumni events and created thank you videos, which were shared through their social media networks (a very touching video from Moldova can be found here). Kyrgyz FLEX alumni and American University of Central Asia students spent the day together with over 1000 runners supporting community involvement and healthy lifestyle at the Bishkek Fun Run. Alumni co-organized the marathon together with students of AUCA, assisting with registration and participants with disabilities during their run. Alumni shared information with the community about FLEX and organized a Cha Cha Slide Dance flashmob, to keep the celebration going!
FLEX Appreciation Day reached out not only to alumni but also to supporters of alumni program. The new Charge d’Affaires to the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan Dereck Hogan posted the blog entitled “Education Is One of the Most Important Forces for Improving People’s Lives”, which reflected upon the FLEX program and its significance. Moreover, the FLEX community in Azerbaijan held a community service project in Zagatala where alumni volunteered at a school for students with learning disabilities.
Alumni posts on Eurasia FLEX Twitter account reached over 16,000 members. Official Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia retweeted tweets from FLEX alumni about the impact of FLEX Program in their lives:
Zarrinakhon Mulloboeva ’13 (Khujand, Tajikistan/Washington, DC) organized a volunteer event in celebration of FLEX Appreciation Day at a local park, where she and other community members picked up acorns and donated them to the Almaty Zoo for food for the animals. Zarrina in her post said: “One of the first things that we learn during our FLEX experience is volunteering. #ThankYouFLEX for changing my life, for making me a better person, and gifting me life-long relationships with so many great people.”
Thank you to all of the FLEX alumni, students, and program supporters who showed their appreciation for the FLEX program on this day!