Learning through Giving: Stories of Community Service

Global UGRAD participants continually amaze us with their commitment to serving others. Please find a sample of their spring semester community service activities below:

Ghida Bakri (Lebanon), Presbyterian College

Ghida has volunteered with three different organizations this semester. She first served as an Arabic-to-English translator at a local women’s shelter, and appreciated being able “to bridge [the] gap between [her] community and the local community.” Later, for a Valentine’s day event at the Thornwell Home for Children, Ghida baked cookies for the foster children that the home serves. Finally, she volunteered at the Palmetto Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Program, which provides therapeutic horseback riding experiences for children with special needs.

Brian Alejandro Mendoza Ortiz (Venezuela), Xavier University of Louisiana

Brian makes volunteering at multiple organizations a regular part of his schedule at Xavier University of Louisiana. Every Thursday, Brian goes bowling with senior citizens who have special needs; he also works with children with special needs, and has gained an appreciation of how important it is to not compartmentalize people into pre-conceived categories. He additionally contributes his time to the STEM NOLA organization, helping children acquire a better understanding of STEM fields and offering workshops on his home country of Venezuela.

Zeljko Gazivoda (Montenegro), University of Southern Indiana

Zeljko’s volunteering activities have centered around education: he’s assisted at an after-school tutoring activity and delivered a presentation on his home country of Montenegro at a local middle school. He also has plans to volunteer at a local museum in Evansville, Indiana.

Theressa Fely Enriquez (Philippines), University of Arkansas

Deeply involved in community service back home, Fely has brought her passion for volunteering to her host institution in Fayetteville, Arkansas. With Art Feeds, an organization that helps children express their feelings creatively through art, Fely assists children with drawing and converses with them. She also volunteers her time at a local United Methodist church to help provide food to homeless individuals in the community.

Vera De Job Taimo Guitiche (Mozambique), West Liberty University

Vera has taken advantage of the opportunities that her host institution’s international club provides for volunteering; with them, she helps serve food every weekend at a local soup kitchen and describes her community service engagement as one of the best parts of her Global UGRAD experience. She has plans to begin contributing her talents at a local elementary school in the near future as a mentor or tutor.

Maksim Kim (Uzbekistan), California State University – San Marcos 

Maksim volunteers every week with plenty of furry friends at the San Marcos Dog Kennel. He helps maintain the premises and cares for the dogs in the shelter. Among his responsibilities is taking the dogs out for walks. He also participates in the M:POWR project, sponsored by CSU – San Marcos and UNESCO, which helps disabled individuals create and sell artwork.

Eunice Jemimah Timothy (India), Florida Gulf Coast University

Hoping to gain the skills to pursue a “whole package” approach to serving at-risk youth back home in India, Eunice volunteers her time with the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), which is committed to helping development practitioners find ways to combat hunger. There, Eunice works with children and teaches them to take care of plants, and to harvest, package, and sell seeds. She soon hopes to also volunteer at another local nonprofit that works to build housing.

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