In October we were visited by IICS Class of 2008 graduate Yasemin Zamanpur, who, since graduating University of Southern California–in addition to her budding acting career–has founded a socially responsible brand, Twelv12that incorporates her art AND provides gainful employment for Syrian refugees.

Here are Yasemin’s excellent points that she presented to Grade 11 during their CAS week on How To Make CAS Work For You in your high school life AND in your adult life.

She says that the four most common problems to making CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) an integral part of your life are: Time, Energy, Resources, and Perfectionism. 

Here is her very sage advice to our community:

Not enough time? Make CAS part of something you are already doing.Have to study? Study via tutoring others. Love playing guitar? Create an online tutorial. Want to have a social life? Socialize with your friends while volunteering together at a local NGO.

No energy? Do something you LOVE & make a CAS element to it. Love gardening? Start a community garden. Love guitar? Teach others how to play. Doing what you love ENERGIZES you. You will always find energy for the things you LOVE to do.

Don’t know how to start? TALK ABOUT IT. Ask anyone. Ask on your Facebook or social media. Ask your parents. Ask your teachers. You will find resources if you talk about your projects.

You are not going to save the world. That’s okay. Just do your part to make the world a little better in some way. Start small with achievable goals. Successes will drive momentum and grow your project. Doing
something small is better than doing nothing at all.


Yasemin Zamanpur graduated in the IICS Class of 2008 and went on to the University of Southern California to earn a BA in Business & Cinematic Arts.

Yasemin spent almost all of her school years at IICS, from five years old through graduation. Used to IICS community service, after Yasemin returned to Turkey with her degree, she made community service a part of her own post-high school life as well. Yasemin created twelv12, a line of organic canvas bags with purpose. Working with the local NGO Small Projects Istanbul, Yasemin taught the already talented Syrian refugee women in the Olive Tree Craft Collaborative how to make the products, which were recently sold at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016. Also sold globally through twelv12’s website, all proceeds go directly to these women who have been displaced by the Syrian conflict.

Aside from her socially conscious endeavors, Yasemin’s acting career is starting to blossom. This year she played in her first feature called Yemekteydik ve Karar Verdim which premiered at Istanbul Film Festival. Yasemin will hopefully be a guest in IICS film & media classes and drama classes.