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Global Youth Service Day: Justine Garvin Rises to the Top as a Youth Volunteer

Date: April 27, 2013 Author: asanteadmin Categories: YIA Blog, Youth In Action In North America

Int PicJustine Garvin is a local high school student who has been volunteering with Asante Africa Foundation since 2010. She shares some insight about her role as an active youth volunteer

1. How did you become involved with Asante Africa Foundation?

My mom introduced me to Erna Grasz in 2010, as I was entering my freshman year of high school.  She wanted me to meet Erna to learn more about Asante Africa Foundation’s positive impact on East African youth.  I didn’t know much about what the world was like for children outside of my community before working with Asante Africa Foundation.  My mom also had a friend who recently returned from a safari, and after we saw some amazing pictures and heard stories about East Africa, I became more interested and emotionally impacted. I have been volunteering with Asante Africa Foundation ever since

2. What other volunteering work have you done? 

I’ve always enjoyed tutoring other students in school, or volunteering as an assistant coach at youth volleyball camps. I love helping people learn new things. I’m also a member of National Honors Society and a club called Team Green at my school, which does community service activities and tackles environmental problems within our community.

3. What has your experience been like as a youth volunteer with Asante Africa? What do you think you’ve learned most from your experience?

My experience has taught me so much! I started with helping other volunteers spread awareness by designing an Asante Africa Foundation calendar. Lately I’ve been working on social media projects, where my experience with technology and the Internet was something that I could contribute. I helped write an interview for the Asante Africa Blog, and edited/added text to photos for the Facebook page. I’ve also helped out at the Fall Event, supporting the silent auction and financial transaction activities.

I not only got amazing exposure to the range of work that Asante Africa Foundation does, but I had fun getting to know other volunteers behind the scenes. All of these activities have made me realize that a person doesn’t have to be an expert, or have a ton of experience to make an impact. Even the smallest of efforts can collectively make a difference.

I am also quite excited that my mom and I bid on a safari trip as part of last year’s Fall Event, so we are going to Tanzania this June.  I’ve been collecting donations of volleyball and soccer balls to take with me, since recreational equipment at the schools is limited. Sports is such a big part of my life, I wanted to share it with the children there. It also gives my friends a sense of accomplishment, to know that by helping me with these donations, they’re actually helping the children in Tanzania.

4. How important do you think it is for young people to volunteer in their communities and/or the ‘global community’? 

I think volunteering is something everyone should make an effort to do, no matter how small. I like the idea of becoming involved in the global community. I think it’s important because countries are becoming much more diverse as people immigrate to new areas. In school we study different cultures and new technologies, so it’s shocking to me that there are still places where clean water is scarce, or where women or children do not get the same opportunity for education. I think a lot of young people simply don’t know enough about how to help, or that even the smallest of efforts can make a difference. When I started volunteering and completing projects, I began to feel a sense of accomplishment because I was doing something to help others. That is a great feeling.

5. What advice would you give to other young people who are considering volunteering?

Jump in! I think a lot of young people get intimidated by the idea of committing to volunteer work without experience; but it’s okay to be inexperienced. Volunteering with Asante Africa Foundation was an incredible way for me to discover my strengths and reinforce my interests.  Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and make a difference.


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