YANA is the beacon for Yalies across all generations seeking opportunities in social impact. With over 9,000 members globally, YANA supports early-stage social entrepreneurs building their networks, mid-career leaders seeking funding or best practices, and late-career alums looking for meaningful ways to give back.  

The letter below is from Laura Haight ’23, a 2022 YANA-Dwight Hall Fellow.  

Dear Friends of YANA, 


That word resounded in my head every day during my internship at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Washington, D.C. this past summer. Opportunity came to mind because I saw, each day, how my clients’ lack of opportunity – due to a failed education system, inadequate resources, and previous interactions with the law – all played a major part in entrapping them in the criminal justice system.

Reflecting on opportunity reminded me that, if not for where I was born, this could have been my own experience. Each day of my internship, I leaned into this fact to do the best I could to present to the court who my clients were and how their circumstances had brought them here today. I took up this mission to show that my clients were community members, parents, siblings, and friends, i.e. fully-formed humans who made mistakes, not people limited to the offense they had allegedly committed.  

My 10-week internship allowed time to reflect deeply on the extraordinary opportunity provided by YANA, as a YANA-Dwight Hall Fellow interning at the Office of the Federal Public Defender. Without the Fellowship, I would not have been able to serve my clients and ensure that they had a different kind of opportunity this time around: access to an excellent defense.  

I’m not the only one who’s received a life-changing experience from YANA. Since starting the Fellowship in 2017, YANA’s generous support has helped launch the social impact careers of 21 Yale students, each with a unique story to tell about their work in climate change, affordable housing, immigration rights, prison reform, and more.  

But to continue this vital work, YANA needs your help. Can we count on you to donate today? To do so, please click here. Your donation of any size will help YANA create new opportunities for Yale’s ever-expanding community of change-makers. 

And an opportunity is all we need.

Thank you.

Laura Haight '23

9-Time Consecutive Winner of the Yale Board of Governors Excellence Award 
 Working Together, Giving Back, Changing Lives
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