This summer, as part of our service-learning volunteer trips initiative, AGYA will welcome several student volunteers from the University of Southern California. This is the third year that AGYA has hosted students from USC through a strategic partnership with RAYSE (Rise of African Youth through Self Empowerment). These ambitious college students will spend 4 weeks living and working at the AGYA Community Learning Center in Nabulagala. They will teach daily classes and workshops at AGYA's Community Center, volunteer at an elementary school and a local orphanage, undergo intensive Luganda language training, participate in cultural excursions, and collaborate with student leaders from Makerere University, Uganda's premiere 4-year degree granting institution of higher education.
The students, profiled here, all come from all different backgrounds and academic majors. In Uganda, they will teach a variety of workshops including: dance, film, music recording and production, storytelling.
Bijou is a freshman at USC majoring in History. In her free time, she likes taking pictures, hanging out with friends and family, laughing, traveling and meeting new people. She is looking forward to a month full of adventures and fun! She is the oldest of four and she loves animals. At AGYA, Bijou will work collaboratively with AGYA youth leader, Mathias Sseremba, to teach a visual arts class.
Brett is a Junior at USC studying International Relations and Business. He is a 20 year old from Irvine, California. He is excited to go to Uganda to work with AGYA because this is something he has always wanted to do. Brett loves to write and he hopes to teach children new styles of creative writing. At AGYA, Brett will work collaboratively with fellow volunteer Erik Peterson and 16 year old AGYA facilitator, Racheal Nankya. Racheal, Erik and Brett will teach storytelling and creative writing to children.
Dionne is a junior majoring in International Relations and Political Science. She is the captain of the USC Women's Varsity Rowing Team. She would like to be a human rights lawyer, be in politics in the future and help change the world for the better in any way she can. Her favorite pastime is dancing as she is trained in classical ballet, hip hop and modern dance. She loves to travel around the world, meet new people and learn about different cultures. Dionne has volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Help Center for many years and served as a summer volunteer English tutor in an orphanage in the Philippines as well. She looks forward to working at AGYA because it is a dream come true for her to be able to serve and volunteer in Uganda. It would be a great opportunity for her to give back more and share her talents to others in another country. Dionne says "I am sure that working at AGYA will be an unforgettable experience." At AGYA, Dionne will work collaboratively with AGYA youth facilitator, Bosco Kirabira to teach a hip-hop dance class.
Erik is a 20 year old Pre-Med student. After traveling to many countries throughout Europe and South America and teaching English in Italy, Erik is ecstatic at the opportunity to meet and befriend all of the AGYA youth in Kampala. He has played violin professionally for 10 years and is very interested in music, storytelling, theater, medicine, biology and science. At AGYA, Erik will work collaboratively with fellow volunteer Brett Zimmerman and 16 year old AGYA facilitator, Racheal Nankya. Racheal, Erik and Brett will teach storytelling and creative writing to children.
Mea is a 20 year old sophomore studying Philosophy and Peace and Conflict Studies, but her interest lies in learning about the world and its numerous cultures. Mea loves to swim, paint, write, read, cook, and spend time with her friends and family. At college, Mea spends her free time working with children in Los Angeles, tutoring, playing, and building strong relationships. She is excited to meet everyone at AGYA and begin her journey together towards self-empowerment. At AGYA, Mea will work collaboratively with AGYA youth leader, Kazibwe Nelson, to teach improv theater.
Sean is a Junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in 3D Animation. In Uganda, Sean will contribute his technical skills to AGYA's "Recording Our Dreams" Studio Project. This will be Sean's first service trip out of the Americas and he is really excited to teach recording arts. At AGYA, Sean will work collaboratively with AGYA youth leader, Mulinde Kenneth, to teach music production.
Taylor is a Sophomore studying Cinema Production. She is excited to teach a film appreciation class with Ugandan youth. In her free time, Taylor loves to read, watch movies, eat, laugh, travel, and go on adventures of all sorts! She also loves dance and music…she says Beyonce is her idol! At AGYA, Taylor will work collaboratively with AGYA youth facilitator, Mubiru Bonny, to teach a class on film production.
Jordan is double-majoring in political science and social science education with a minor in cultural anthropology at USC. Jordan spent much of his childhood in the California mountain community of Three Rivers, which is located about five miles away from Sequoia National Park, home to the world’s largest trees. This is where Jordan developed his love for learning about the world and the people in it. Jordan, a devout Christian, feels that nothing in the world is coincidental; everything has a purpose and serves to bring us closer to the intangible through some physical shape or form. Life is what we make of it, and Jordan strives everyday to help make his life meaningful and fulfilling. At AGYA, Jordan will work with Nansubuga Shamira, to teach workshops that explore culture through popular films.
Barton was born in Austin, Texas and now lives in Los Angeles where he attends the University of Southern California. He is the oldest of 5 kids and is very grateful for the family and childhood that he has had. He loves attending college at USC and really enjoys learning about Economics and International Relations. Outside of class, Barton enjoys running, swimming and various other sports. At AGYA, Barton will work collaboratively with AGYA youth leader, Sseguya Brian, to teach a class on Business Skills and Entrepreneurship.