People need to spread love towards strangers. We all bleed the same blood and we are all part of a global community now. - Aloe Blacc
What does community outreach mean to me?
Community outreach is an essential part of my life. I've participated in many programs that have encouraged and sponsored my love for serving the people both in and out of my life. I believe that every person has a right to life and happiness, whether they're my next door neighbor or someone on the other side of the world. It's never too early to begin to improve your community and learn about the world around you.
Children's International Summer Villages CISV) is an organization that aspires to encourage global friendship and awareness in youth. When I was eleven, I had the opportunity to attend Village, a summer program that lasts for around twenty-eight days in a variety of countries. The camp I attended was held in Quezon City, Philippines, and housed forty children from ten different countries. The entire experience was one of the most life changing and awe inspiring events of my life.
What did I learn from Village?
Village taught me that regardless of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, we are all human. It's extremely difficult for me to pinpoint the exact moment that I realized how blind I had been to other cultures. I had always lived in a tiny little bubble that ignored everything that wasn't immediately around me. Being around so many kids from so many different backgrounds made me aware that people existed outside of my nieghborhood. I wasn't aware
of kids in Brazil or Costa Rica. I didn't stay awake at night thinking that sometimes people don't have food on the table. I was blind to the experiences of other people, not because I'm a horrible person, but simply because I was ignorant. I'm now aware of a trend that exists especially here in the United States, a trend of ignorance. CISV has encouraged me to seek out other people, to look beyond my neighborhood and understand that everyone is someone even if their experiences are completely different.
Aphelion is one of the most beautiful, difficult, painful, exhilarating, and all around amazing things of which I have been a part . During the 2014-2015 school year, Aphelion was created in my middle school girls' homeroom. As a collective, we decided that we wanted to help other kids, but had no idea what on Earth we were going to do. We understood that our educational experiences- were definitely not universal. Going
to school can be a major challenge for people both on the other side of the world, and just down the street. It became very clear, very quickly that we needed to try and do something, anything. It started as the idea that maybe we could create an Etsy shop and sell jewelry, and rapidly developed into a not-for profit in the span of two years. We are now partnered with the Maasai Girl's Education Fund, and are sponsoring girls on their journey to receive an education and change the world just like us. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been given through Aphelion, and will forever be thankful for all of my teachers and peers who helped make it possible.
Through my two years working with the program, Aphelion helped me to grow as both a scholar and a person. Being able to witness positive change is a wonderful experience, being able to cause it is even better. I learned how to apply my myself through my talents and passions in order to influence the
world around me for the better. My poetry and writing, which have always been a hobby, have now been used as a tool for global change. By presenting my ideas to the people around me, I have encouraged them to donate and support children and teens who wouldn't have been able to get an education otherwise. Experiences like these have continued to foster my love for my global community, and given me hope for the future. Today I continue to work with the organization by producing art to be sold.
What have I learned
Here is an article I wrote for the Young Mensan Magazine
I am very proud to have been the President of Scholars for the Ethical and Ecological Development of Society (SEEDS) club during my freshman and junior years. SEEDS is a club focused on educating our local community on the concepts of environmentalism. As we are currently in our sixth year of operation, we are continuing several projects that focus on making sure our campus and outlying communities are able to become healthier. These projects include recycling, composting, and vertical gardening.
This year I am ecstatic to be acting as president for EA Young's National Honor Society chapter. It means a lot to me that my peers have trusted me to take the helm. I really want this year to be about emphasizing the importance of volunteerism and doing good simply because it improves the lives of others. For our first service project this year, we will be partnering with GRACEful Buys, a local charity that specializes in uplifting families in need. Hopefully, as the year progresses, we will be able see noticeable change in our community.