Exchange Student from Turkey Uses his Passions to Make a Difference

May 19, 2023 1:15 pm Published by Comments Off on Exchange Student from Turkey Uses his Passions to Make a Difference

During his exchange year, Denys has been an active member of the Sullivan community in Indiana where he is spending his high school exchange year. Denys is an exchange student from Turkey who offered up his passions and talents to give back to the community that welcomes him by participating in the Helping Hands Community Service Project with STS Foundation.

The bulk of Denys’s volunteering took place at his local library, as well as the town’s history museum. Here is what he shares about his volunteering experience:

“The biggest part of my exchange experience consists of volunteering. Sullivan County Public Library and Sullivan County History Museum were my second homes here in the US, after my host family’s house. I’ve been volunteering at these places since October.

At first, I intended to volunteer at a library because I thought it’s a quiet, nice place to volunteer. I also like reading books and the environment of the library. But it turns out that it is the place where I will find great people! Volunteering at the library taught me a lot. I learned how to barcode, cover, and label books, DVDs, and audiobooks. I organized them as well. I also got the opportunity to see the historical town genealogy section. Volunteering at the library’s children’s section was really nice as well.

Sullivan County Public Library also regulates the Sullivan County History Museum. So by volunteering at the library, I was also able to see the museum and put my effort into it! I’m in love with history, that’s why I really liked volunteering there. We organized all the materials, including war clothes, old school uniforms, etc. It was amazing to see the historical records and everything in the museum. For example, I saw how the buildings that are abandoned now looked 100 years ago! It definitely helped me to understand my host town. I was mesmerized, especially when I first saw it. 

I volunteered with amazing people, who helped me with a lot of things. As an exchange student, I recommend everyone to volunteer. It is the best way to get to know your host community and connect with people! I will miss each of them very much.”

Giving back through volunteering and community service is an important part of American culture. We are so proud of all Denys has achieved throughout his exchange experience and the positive impact he’s had on his community through volunteering his time and talents. As students travel back to their home countries at the end of their exchange year, they also take back with them this spirit of volunteerism and many go on to continue giving back long after they have left the United States.

Denys is a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State which provides high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations the opportunity to live and study for an academic year in the United States. YES students serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country, promoting mutual understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities.

Denys is the winner of a $100 Amazon gift card for having collected the most points for his volunteer hours submitted through the Helping Hands Community Service Project. 

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This post was written by Morgan Tondreault

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