For the last couple of years, FunDza has opened its hearth and hearts to students from the University of Kentucky, USA. The volunteer students spend almost two months with us working with our editing and writing team. It is always a joy for us to meet vibrant and passionate young people from across the globe… So, this year we’ve been super-excited to welcome Kennedy and Ben to FunDza.
Find out more about them… in their own words:
Hello! My name is Kennedy Cowan-Davis. I will be going into my senior year at the University of Kentucky, graduating in the class of 2020. I am majoring in Community, Leadership, and Development. With a minor in communications, while also pursuing a Leadership certificate. I am very passionate about giving back and education, and with this combination I plan to serve and protect by offering valuable knowledge and support to citizens and community members. I will do this buy hopefully finding innovative ways to improve equal resources allocated to the school in different districts. While also motivating others to be the best version of themselves. I want to inspire young minds and know I made a difference I want to be a change agent.
As a young girl, I grew up around strong and educated Black women. Specifically my mother, I’m an only child, raised in a single parent household. Being that I spent the majority of my life in a very diverse area, attending the University of Kentucky was a bit of a culture shock. My mother always inspired me to be a better version of myself and shaped me to be the young woman I am today. Through her actions in the community and in other settings, I saw first-hand what it meant to be a giver. One of my mother’s favorite quotes is,“service is the rent we pay for being on earth”-Muhammad Ali, and I strive to live up to that daily. I understood what it meant to give back to my community and others from an early start. However, I specifically wanted to impact my community, the minority community, due to the lack of equal opportunity. From my days volunteering and the social justice issues that are important to me such as: education, homelessness, and bullying. I’ve learned to be a friend, to be a good citizen, and to inspire others around me. I want to step up and be a leader and continue to grow into the woman I want to be. To be around like-minded women who are all trying to reach the same goal. Striving to achieve goals while making an impact on this world.
Investing in and giving back to the communities in which I live is extremely important to me. One of my goals is to play a major role in the community through partnership programs and hopefully, through my very own community organization. My mother and I planned and hosted a Christmas Eve event that provided care-packages for the homeless during the winter months. Through this process I discovered just how much I love hosting and organizing events for others.. I would love the opportunity to work with a non-profit organization focused on education like FunDza. I hope to improve my skill set by honing in on skills and learning practical work experiences that I can apply in the future.
Community service is of interest to me. So much so, that I am pursuing a focus curriculum on this topic to learn how to organize my own non-profit organization in my future. Creating an organization means coming up with a mission, a purpose, basically a charter that outlines our goals and objectives. In addition, understanding the needs of the community in which you will be servicing and executing a program tailored to that community which is something I’ve already learned in my short time here at FunDza. I hope FunDza will give me the additional skills and a platform to bring forth educational programs for children to enrich their academic abilities, in and outside the classroom with hopes of a brighter future.
I am Ben Applegate from Boston, Massachusetts in America. I am 20 years old and going into my third year at the University of Kentucky. I am currently in school to get a degree in family sciences, and I want to be school psychologist when I’m older. I grew up with my parents and am an only child.
I must admit as a young boy this was quite boring but there was definitely some upsides to it. (such as not having to share everything!) My mom has had type 1 diabetes since she was a young girl, and when I was 10 years old she was also diagnosed with Addison’s disease. This was hard because I did not really know what was happening to her, or why she was going to hospitals so frequently.
Then, when I was 13 my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This was especially tough because I had always believed my dad was this strong guy; like a rock, unbreakable, and to see him slowly lose his physical abilities was something that hit me hard.
I will say with all this going on, it just made me more motivated to go to school and make them proud of me. They have worked so hard to give me a good life, and one day I would like to repay the favor and provide for them. I have always had a desire to travel the world, but I was never able to due to school, work, and other commitments. When I heard about the opportunity to Intern at FunDza, I immediately jumped at the opportunity because it sounded so perfect.
I would get to work first hand in an educational setting, and also travel the world. There was many times growing up that I thought I would never leave Boston, but here I am, on the other side of the globe. I think this goes to show that anything is possible if you work hard enough and have support from the right people.
I can’t say I always enjoyed reading, In school they would never let us choose what we want to read and I did not like that. No one wants to read about some boring topic that does not interest them, or they can not relate to. So one summer day going into my 11th grade year I told myself I’d read a book about something I enjoy, baseball. That summer I read more books than I think I read in my entire life prior to that. Even my parents were amazed, like “what the heck has gotten into you?” Well what had gotten into me was love; a love for reading, and books, and the stories inside of them.
I would like to work in a school setting because I want to help the next kid like me. The student who may not have had the best grades in school, but has a burning desire to do something more with their life. Life can have many twists and turns but you can never let these set backs stop you. Find something or someone you love and use it as your motivation.