Community Service Spotlight: Spring 2023

As one of their program requirements, Global UGRAD participants complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service during their semester in the United States. For many students, this becomes one of the most meaningful and inspirational activities they take part in during the program. Continue reading for a selection of highlights from community service activities that participants completed in the spring semester!

Sheila Jamal (Mozambique) and Medgunowsky Balthazar Laguerre making Valentine’s Day cards for local children

“I had the opportunity to perform community service through a variety of on- and off-campus organizations while attending the University of Central Missouri. With a group called MO Volunteer, I’ve completed community service projects where we created Valentine’s Day love cards, crocheted socks for kids in hospitals, toys for pets, and most recently, built three Easter baskets, each holding 100 eggs. My friends and I helped the Warrensburg Convention and Tourist Bureau fill souvenir bags as part of our community service project for the Warrensburg Municipal Court. Together with a Warrensburg community development organization, I also had the opportunity to pick up trash around my campus, collecting 8 bags in total. In addition, I had the opportunity to perform community service on Valentine’s Day at Powell Gardens, the botanical garden in Kansas City. We assisted with setting up the party decorations, cooking, and greeting guests. I had a really wonderful time.”

– Medgunowsky Balthazar Laguerre, Haiti, University of Central Missouri


Dilyara Bekbolatova volunteering with the SCSU radio station

“Last month, I helped the university radio station operate a trivia competition for the St. Cloud community. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. I was answering calls and telling if the answer is correct or not. As a true extrovert, I liked to talk to people and listen to them shout in happiness when their answer was right!”

– Dilyara Bekbolatova, Kazakhstan, St. Cloud State University


Michelle Horst Lie, Mariam Mikeladze (Georgia), Veronika Yakovenko (Ukraine), and Phouangphan Latphakdy (Laos) share their culture at a local middle school

“As part of my community service, I presented about my country and culture to students at Mt. Pleasant Middle School. I loved sharing with middle school students because they learned so many things about something they never knew before. This is a really great opportunity to share and learn!”

– Michelle Horst Lie, Indonesia, Iowa Wesleyan University


Katsiaryna Taranka, Maftuna Uraimshikova (Uzbekistan), and Qianyi Ding (China) volunteer with other KSU students at alternative spring break in Dallas

“It may sound unusual as a spring break experience, but I volunteered the whole week at AIDS Services of Dallas (ASD)! I got the opportunity to travel and do something meaningful through the alternative spring break program organized by the School of Leadership at Kansas State University. ASD provides housing for homeless people who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. It’s not a homeless shelter, not a hospital, rather, just an apartment block where they can feel at home and have their personal space while also getting medical support. I am grateful to the staff for letting us see the “behind the scenes” of their work. On our first day, we helped to digitize the system where the clients’ documents are saved. We talked to the CEO of this organization and he gave us a lot of information about their services. On other days we did some maintenance work and interacted a bit with the clients. By the way, this picture – a view of Dallas – is taken from the roof of one of the apartment blocks! Our K-State team was international and diverse, consisting not only of undergrads but also Ph.D. students! I miss them already!”

– Katsiaryna Taranka, Belarus, Kansas State University


Andre’ Socorro Doria, Munkhsaikhan Jambalsanjid (Mongolia), Duangdaophet Keobounphanh (Laos), and Helen Baye Assefa (Ethiopia) participating in an Earth Day clean-up

“Service in our communities keeps our world going round. Over the past few months, I volunteered in three ways: First, I helped prepare for the Wyoming State Fair where almost a hundred high school students and their teachers presented their innovations. I also worked with students from the Honors College. Second, I spent most of my volunteering days at the Laramie Soup Kitchen, a community space where locals, especially those with disabilities, can grab a meal from kind-hearted donors. I prepared and served food, and cleaned up the kitchen and dining area. Finally, I recently joined the Earth Day clean-up activity initiated by the Service, Leadership, Community Engagement organization of the University of Wyoming. While picking up plastic with my fellow UGRADs was fun, the experience made me realize that Laramie is a pristine place; even the streams have crystal-clear water. From all of these experiences, I realized that Americans value volunteerism and the altruistic nature of extending help whenever they can. This is then complemented by kindred spirits who make the activities more of a social event than a required activity. I’m glad to have taken part in this experience.”

– Andre’ Socorro Doria, Philippines, University of Wyoming