Friday, March 1, 2013

Partying For YJI On Three Continents

Nicole Megan Gounder /
Lucy-Sarah Raymond Gounder, after all the baking was finished, paused a moment by the beautiful table at the party in Durban. 
 Youth Journalism International not only has the greatest students on the planet, but the best alumni in the world.
Just after Valentine’s Day, alum Nicole MeganGounder, and her wonderful mom, Lucy-Sarah Raymond Gounder, kicked off a new initiative from their home in Durban, South Africa, an “I love YJI” event.
The same day, a similar gathering took place in the United States and a few days later, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The idea is to introduce YJI to people who don’t know much about it, but might like to learn more, and there’s no one better to do that than someone like Nicole, who is now an Ambassador for YJI and a judge in our annual Excellence in Journalism contest.
Nicole, a photographer, recently described what involvement YJI meant for her:
“It was a major stepping stone in keeping me focused throughout my tertiary education, and help me attain my Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in Media and Marketing,” she wrote. “YJI gave me the foundation I needed in my academic writing, and it all stemmed from me joining when I was in first year.
For their Durban event, the Gounders made lovely cupcakes, curry and other treats, some of them in YJI’s signature colors.
Nicole Megan Gounder /
Baking the cupcakes in YJI colors for the Durban party

Nicole Megan Gounder /
Curry at the party in Durban!
Nicole Megan Gounder /
Handsome Durban reveler
models a YJI hat.
Nicole Megan Gounder /
A rainy day didn't dampen the party spirits in Durban.
Nicole Megan Gounder /
In Durban, there was plenty of YJI support!
Nicole Megan Gounder /
YJI colors inside the cake above, in Durban, and the cake pops, below.
Artist Joe Bun Keo co-hosted the Connecticut event.

A world away in Connecticut, YJI co-founders Steve Collins and Jackie Majerus and alum Joe Bun Keo, also a YJI Ambassador and contest judge who has been part of the YJI family since he was a high school freshman in 2001, hosted an event together.
Partying for YJI in Connecticut
Having a good time in Connecticut

"YJI transcends journalism, it is the purest form of open communication,” said Joe, an artist who is active in the Hartford area arts community.
“I had great conversations with individuals who were involved with teaching the deaf and educating the impoverished. YJI is a global hub. I felt like I was travelling the world within words, light snacks and drinks," Joe said. "YJI is social networking at a level where mobile devices can be put aside for handshakes and hugs. A YJI party is a time to make lifetime connections."
Two-footed creatures and four-footed creatures enjoyed the Connecticut event.
The Connecticut event included a variety of food from different parts of the world.
Relaxing at the Connecticut party with co-founders Steve, left, and Jackie, center.
Jackie said, “We had a great time talking about YJI with friends who didn’t know much about it, and making some new connections, too.”
A few days later, Edrees Kakar, a YJI alum who serves on the organization’s board of directors, held his own YJI gathering in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Edrees Kakar, center, hosted a YJI event in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Best of all, there are more parties in the works.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve already had events on three continents,” said Steve. “It’s wonderful that our alums got the party started. It’s the beginning of a great new tradition for YJI.”

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