One of Aesop’s Fables shares “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Every year, our exchange students volunteer countless hours to give back to their host community. While it may seem like a small and simple act, these hours added together leave a significant impact on the community. This was ever apparent with the 2015 Community Service Contest (CSC) entries!
The CSC judges were very impressed by all students who submitted their entries and thank all of them for their service to their host communities! Our three winners impressed the judges with their variety of service, tenacity to seek it out, and lasting impact that it made on both the student and host community.
Congratulations to Ignasius from Indonesia, Antonia from Germany, and Kashaf from Pakistan!
Ignasius, who goes by Sony, is an Ayusa YES student placed in Minnesota. While he has volunteered for numerous causes, including tutoring and fundraising, his main volunteer outlet has been at his local Manna Market, which helps provide food for 150-200 families in the area. He shares that, through volunteering at the Manna Market, he “gets something that money can’t buy – happiness and joy!” He not only gets to give back, Sony also is able to meet positive and inspiring people. One person in particular that has left a lasting impact, Pastor Mark, always told Sony to “be nice and smile.” Sony shares the impact he realized this had: “Being nice and positive can make them smile too, ease their burden. And you never know that by being nice, giving them a smile, talking to them, we can give them an extra mile for them to face anything that they have.” Sony hopes to one day open a Manna Market back in Indonesia!
Antonia, who goes by Toni, is placed in Washington. She has spent many hours volunteering at her local Salvation Army, as well as tutoring and helping to coach. While at the Salvation Army, Toni learned “how hard and exhausting it is, but to help people is just awesome!” She was inspired by the owner of the local Salvation Army, who had some to the U.S. decades ago from Ukraine with very little but still made the effort to help those less fortunate. “When you look after a day on that huge mountain of stuff that you’ve done, it makes you happy because you know you helped almost 600 families on one day,” Toni shares. “To help people that have nothing just fills your heart with joy!”
Kashaf is also an Ayusa YES student and is placed in Missouri. From working with children and the elderly to lending a hand at a local farm to helping at a resale shop, Kashaf has spent her time doing a wide variety of volunteering! She truly enjoyed being able to spend time at a local nursing home, where she shared her culture, listened to stories, made decorations, and even gave the senior citizens henna tattoos! “Community service is probably the most important part of my exchange year. It leaves a really good impression of me and my country on other people. When people see me serving my community, thousands of misconceptions get removed in their minds.”
Thank you again to all of the students you submitted their entries! You all have left a significant impact on your host community. Congratulations to our three winners!