With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, scientists, researchers, and health workers around the world joined forces to combat this novel virus. In addition to the work of these experts, FLEX alumni worked to help their communities.  In Serbia, many alumni went above and beyond to support their communities during the pandemic. The following is a list of “FLEX Heroes” who deserve recognition for the work they have done during these difficult times:

  • Jana Tucovic ’18 (Uzice, Serbia/Torrance, CA) and Grlica Golusin ’18 (Novo Milosevo, Serbia/Porterville, CA) served as Red Cross volunteers delivering groceries and medicine to vulnerable communities.
  • Jelena Brankovic ’16 (Zajecar, Serbia/Charlotte, NC) and Suncica Drobnjakovic ’16 (Nova Varos, Serbia/Provo, UT) organized an online workshop called “COlission VIDcon”, which taught participants how to fact-check information about COVID-19.
  • Mina Knezevic ’09 (Belgrade, Serbia/King City, CA), a CISCO employee, helped the company give away older tech equipment to volunteer organizations and teach them how to use online resources to help citizens.
  • Sofija Radosavljevic ’14 (Belgrade, Serbia/Wilmington, DE), a medical student, volunteered at the Beogradsko Sajmiste Emergency Hospital by helping log new cases.
  • Jelena Preradovic ’10 (Novi Sad, Serbia/Pueblo, CO), a medical student, volunteered at the Novi Sad Clinical Center.
  • Maja Petkovic ’08 (Nis, Serbia/Pleasantville, IA) volunteered at the Center for Mental Health Guidance for Students (Psiholosko savetovaliste za studente), helping students overcome the mental challenges of quarantine.
  • Marija Raicevic ’19 (Nis, Serbia/Charlotte, NC) organized webinars for teachers, which taught them how to use various online resources to continue offering a formal education to children in Serbia.
  • Vukasin Velickovic ’13 (Belgrade, Serbia/Midlothian, VA) gave webinars to alumni and City Representatives, helping them to maintain good mental health while carrying out projects.

The effort put forth by FLEX alumni during this difficult time was recognized by the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.   U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey joined FLEX alumni on an online video conference entitled “Alumni Giving Back During COVID-19.”  Alumni discussed their favorite FLEX memories and how their exchange experience influenced their volunteer work. The Facebook Live event offered the followers of the U.S. Embassy Belgrade page to learn more about the value of volunteering and solidarity, especially in time of a global crisis.

Written by Aleksandar Stevanovic ‘18 (Beograd, Serbia/New Albany, IN), Jelena Brankovic ’16 ( Zajecar, Serbia/Charlotte, NC), and Vukasin Velickovic ’13 (Belgrade, Serbia/Midlothian, VA)