Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August Michigan Volunteers of the Month

August Volunteer Spotlight
Jessica Sullivan

Tell me how you first heard about 
The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project? 
Jessica ran her first marathon on behalf of Nyaka.
I first met Jackson back in 2003. I worked at the bank. He walked in and needed to do a wire because he was "starting an orphanage in Africa." I was so fascinated with his story and what he was doing we became good friends. I remember getting pictures from him of the first well that was installed. I ended up moving in 2006 and we lost contact. Six years later I was reading CNN and read this title that said "Cashing in the American dream to help AIDS orphans" and I thought that sounds a lot like Jackson, clicked on the link and there he was! I emailed him, we reconnected and long story short I introduced him to some friends of mine that introduced him to TEDx Traverse City and the FIM Group.

 What about Nyaka inspires you? 
The ripple effect one person can have on impacting the world. These children have some of the hardest stories but they still have the biggest smiles. All it takes is one seed.

 What have you done to support Nyaka?
 I don't live in East Lansing so I can't volunteer there and I have young children so traveling
Jessica with her husband Ryan, and their two sons Shamus and Padraig.
across the world right now isn't an option. So I am an ambassador for this organization. Getting the message out about the story and introducing Jackson to anyone I can. My family and I also donate every year, attend the annual fundraiser and I ran my first marathon to raise money for NYAKA. I've also introduced the company I work for to NYAKA and we helped raise supplies for their school.

 What do you wish other people knew about Nyaka?
I wish other people knew just how much Nyaka was doing for the children. The holistic approach this organization takes is amazing.

 What do you do with your time? Work? Hobbies?
I am the Vice President of the Hagerty Group Office. I love to spend time with my husband Ryan and our two sons, Shamus and Padraig. We are die hard Michigan State fans, GO GREEN! When I'm not working I love to run, read books, golf, and listen to music. I'm a member of the Zonta Club of Traverse City and I serve on the board of The Children's House, an Independent Montessori school.

Young Hero Profile
Ashi Arora, 16 
Jackson Kaguri & Ashi Arora 2013
Ashi is a young lady who is very passionate about community service, giving back,and helping the Students of Nyaka! She draws her inspiration from her Professor, Anna Maheshwari at Schoolcraft College who introduced her to The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project and Jackson Kaguri.  Two people whom she says "are actively working to strengthen the importance of community service in youth."

Ashi has coordinated events and fundraisers at Schoolcraft Community College and Novi High School in Novi, Michigan as well as fundraising on her own raising over $2,000.00!  She initiated a fruit basket and a scarf fundraiser, and has also collected old books through a book drive for the students of Nyaka.  Ashi has also volunteered at one of Jackson Kaguri's presentations and at a Concert for Africa.
When Ashi takes a break from fundraising for Nyaka she says her hobbies are "getting involved in Novi Youth Council through various leadership opportunities with my fellow friends at Novi High School, exercising, and reading."

 Ashi is such an inspiration, and definitely deserves the recognition of being a Young Hero for Nyaka!