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Isabelle firmly believes that community journalism is a form of community service. She is the editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper, the Register Forum. As a reporter she digs into controversial topics that affect the school, striving for a balanced approach that includes all voices and fosters dialogue, but also using the editorial position to hold the community accountable to itself.
Isabelle’s volunteer activities are numerous, including ESL tutoring, pre-school aide, preparing meals for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and preparing donated clothing for distribution at a center in Boston. She says that Interacting with people who are homeless has taught her humility and empathy.
Isabelle wants her career to focus on eliminating poverty and extreme income inequality in the United States. She will pursue journalism, law or public policy research.
Solomon’s community service is multi-dimensional. As varsity basketball player pays forward his skills to coach the sport at the Cambridge Community Center, where he was once a participant. He is also an accomplished cellist with Benjamin Zander’s Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He finds time within his demanding practice and performance schedule to travel around to local rehabilitation centers and nursing homes to play for the residents. “Seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces reminds me of why I play the cello”, he says. “And I hope that by playing the cello for people, I am improving their day.” He categorizes this aspect of his volunteerism as music ambassadorship. Solomon chooses not to be defined by living in affordable housing and having a troubled and mostly absent father. He has charted his own path. He aspires to be an engineer, but he will continue his music studies.
Mahmudul says that his volunteer work gives him motivation and inspiration. An aspiring Imam (Muslim worship and community leader), Mahmudul devotes much of his time at his local mosque teaching English to new Bangladeshi immigrants and teaching them to read the Quran. This has special meaning to Mahmudul because he did not speak English when he first came to the United States, and he learned the Quran on his own. One of his goals is to return to Bangladesh to serve his community there in healthcare as a physician and as an Imam.
Zev Dickstein’s community service resume reads much like that of someone twice his age. Since he was in middle school there hasn’t been a political campaign or cause that Zev hasn’t been interested in, whether local or national. Most recently he was a senior advisor to Rachel Weinstein’s successful campaign for school committee. He has also done door-to-door canvassing for Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, John Tierney, Maggie Hassan, Martha Coakley, Jay Livingstone, and Ted Steinberg – just to name a few. He also interned with Warren to help her prepare for town hall meetings by developing a method for anticipating attendance, and also with Attorney General Maura Healy, researching and preparing case summaries for her.
Zev has also successfully engaged others, particularly young people to be involved in the political process. He founded the Cambridge High School Democrats Club. He has also merged the political and digital worlds by developing two apps that help ease the management of outreach activities. KnockBlue.com is a mobile app to help organizations gain an edge in their field canvassing using predictive canvassing. Turnout.com is another mobile app embedded in a fiscally sponsored nonprofit that serves as a communications hub for activists to access information about events and other resources, but also to mobilize people quickly to problem solve. He was motivated by what he saw as a a lack of a communications platform for young people to respond to the Parkland massacre. Zev raised $62,000 to launch this organization.
At the very micro level, Zev successfully advocated for putting a salad bar in the high school cafeteria.
Zev aspires to a career that advocates social justice. In his own words, “Every responsibility I was given connected to helping people, which is what I want to devote my life to.”
Anna has done much of her volunteering through the Interact Club, the high school branch of the Rotary, an international service organization. Anna spends one Saturday each week separating and folding clothing at The Spot, a clothing bank originally established for victims of the 2016 East Cambridge fire in 2016 now open to anyone in need. She spends two weekday afternoons at Furnishing Hope, packaging bedding and kitchen utensil sets for formerly homeless families transitioning to permanent housing. Every other Sunday through her Korean church, Anna has helped prepare meals for the homeless in Harvard Square. A varsity ice hockey player, Anna also has volunteered to teach young children in the Learn to Skate program at Simioni Rink.
Anna’s career goal is to become an educator in linguistics, specifically to work with children. The following sums up her approach to service. “Service to me is a way to make a tangible difference in the world. Every single person has a moral responsibility to make this world a better place. Serving others is one of my favorite things to do because I know that I am not doing anything to benefit myself, but that I am helping others for the sole purpose of making a positive impact on the world.”
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