Currently in East Africa to see Asante Africa Foundation’s partnering schools and meet the children in the programs for the very first time, Miranda Newman shares how she went from answering a volunteer ad five years ago to East Africa.
If you had asked me when I first started volunteering with Asante Africa Foundation if I thought I’d be writing about my experience five years later while in country visiting Kenya and Tanzania I would not have believed you. But here I am, on a two-week long visit to Africa thinking how lucky I am to be involved with such a great organization.
I first met Erna Grasz at a coffee shop shortly after I saw an online post looking for volunteers. Erna’s passion and dedication for helping to transform the lives of children in East Africa was not only inspiring but contagious, and I knew that I had found the right organization for me. I started writing articles for Asante Africa Foundation’s website and have since worked on different teams for various projects such as the Fall Event, grants, and marketing/communications, to name a few.
Even though the projects I’ve worked on has changed, the one thing that has remained the same is Erna’s support and encouragement for me and the work that I do. She is constantly inspiring and challenging me to do better. Because of this, I feel that I’ve grown my skills as a volunteer, a professional and as a person.
Erna’s ability to engage and motivate people is really amazing. This is especially true during our visit to Kenya and Tanzania. Whether sharing stories about the kids whose lives have been transformed through Asante Africa Foundation, leading the strategic planning committee in a dance, or talking with people on the streets; Erna’s energy is infectious and I can see it in the faces of all that come in contact with her.
It means so much to me to be able to travel to Kenya and Tanzania to see the work Asante Africa Foundation does. I can’t wait to visit one of our partnering schools and meet the kids. They say that volunteering is a way to give back, but that is not true in my case. I’ve gained so much more than I could ever give back. But that won’t stop me from trying to give and do more.