Amber Neal, a junior in the College of ACES, was one of the first students to receive the University YMCA’s Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for InternationalService and Cause-Driven Leadership.
With the majority of the travel funding covered, Amber was able take the lead on her international service project at Baphumelele Children’s Home in Cape Town, South Africa. We’re happy to have her share with us some of her reflections, which we’ve provided in excerpt form:
"January 6th was the first day that I had started my volunteering at Baphumelele Children’s Home. The two weeks I spent volunteering were some of the most memorable, beautiful, touching, impactful, and emotional volunteer experiences I have ever had (and I have done a lot of volunteering in my life). It wasn’t because I was spending my days with young children and youth. But unlike any other volunteer experience when working with children, I got the chance to actually bond and connect with them over those two weeks. [...]
Volunteering at Baphumelele encouraged me even more to go forward with my career plans of working with the youth! Before leaving for this trip, I already knew that I wanted my career to involve working with youth and youth development and this trip showed me again why I have chosen this route. I love interacting with youth whether it is playing games, speaking about important topics, teaching them, or learning from them. [...] It was such a life changing experience for me and I didn’t just learn new knowledge about the country but I also learned more about myself! I have come back from this experience with an improved openmindedness, caring, and grateful heart."