Thank you to all students who submitted CCS 2012 applications and have given and continue to give so much back their communities. We received a large number of impressive applications that made selecting the winners very difficult. The three winning students chosen demonstrated a true dedication to community service:
Linda de Vries (Netherlands): Linda impressed our judges by devoting many of her free hours to working primarily with individuals with special needs, including helping them to play sports, chaperoning a trip and traveling with the special needs school that received an award for the volunteer work they do. Linda’s host sister has Down Syndrome and was the initial inspiration for Linda’s decision to volunteer. This experience has also served to reinforce her future plans to continue helping others by studying sign language and teaching children who are hearing impaired and deaf. Linda also spent some time serving the homeless and working at the local church, and individuals involved in all of her community service projects wrote glowing recommendations about her work. The Director and Volunteer Supervisor with the special needs group said that Linda demonstrated nothing but patience, understanding and selflessness in her work. When asked in her application what she gets back from her volunteer experience, Linda stated “Everybody should at least make an attempt to help others in their community. Even the ones who ought to be helped are helping. It may be your life, but it is not about you, it is about the people around you.” Well-said Linda!
Nathalie Sluyter (Germany): Nathalie’s passion for volunteer work with her church and the local veterinary clinic was very evident in her submission. Her love and compassion for animals was just one reason for volunteering at the clinic, where she spends most of her time giving back. Her other reasons include “exposure to American culture, forming new relationships, helping where needed, overcoming shyness and giving something in return while staying in America.” Every week she takes care of the boarding cats and dogs at the clinic by exercising them, cleaning their cages, monitoring them after surgery and helping with adoptions. Nathalie aims one day to work in the mental health profession, and feels that helping to diagnose and treat animals is very similar to the way we approach diagnosing and treating humans! Nathalie’s recommendations described her as eager to learn with a strong work ethic, sense of humility, creative spirit and a delight to work with. As her favorite quote by novelist Josephine Humpreys points out, “Who you are begins with what you do.”
Kae Fernandez (Philippines): The variety and magnitude of Kae’s community service hours really inspired the judges. Kae has devoted much of her volunteer time to working with children in a Cognitive/Special Education classroom, assisting young children at a local church, helping those less fortunate and fundraising for her school’s youth activities, among others. Kae viewed her community service as not just helping others, but also as an opportunity to learn about American culture and educate people about her culture as well. She reports, “Many aspects of my community service have also influenced my personality and the way I lived my exchange year.” Furthermore, Kae’s numerous recommendations from teachers and advisors involved with her activities all agreed that she has continuously led by example, and that her “ability to adapt, incredible enthusiasm and energy…has served as a great example to students and the community. She has demonstrated that there is always an opportunity to share and to serve. She has become a part of who we are.”
A big congratulations to these three amazing young ladies who have really distinguished themselves in their dedication to community service!
We also chose several students for honorable mention. While these students did not place in the top three, we recognize that they have also made substantial, quality contributions to their communities:
Aiman Abid (Pakistan)
Dareen Ali (Bahrain)
Javier Bacelis (Mexico)
Min Chi Lee (South Korea)
Mariyam Mohammed Suleman (Pakistan)