The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 31

NEW & NOTEWORTHY together, we felt connected through the same emotions, joys and challenges that the conference presented. I made several new friends that week, including Rami, a Muslim woman from Indonesia, who thanked us all for accepting her, even though she felt like others outside of the organization may not. We took the time to listen to her and work with each other, and by doing this, we came to understand that our similarities are greater than our differences. Most people have a career, but I have a calling. I firmly believe that youth exchange has the power to make us citizens of one world, and the events in Paris and my experience there at that time proved it yet again for me. In my over 13 years with YFU, I have witnessed the power of youth exchange first hand. What starts with one student and one family grows to impact an entire high school and community, bonding those who share the experience through their lifetime. Those students who go on exchange grow to become adults equipped with the tools to make a true impact on the world because of the qualities they learned from their time abroad. We help these students and families to appreciate the differences and embrace their similarities, and thus, break down the barriers and stereotypes of the world. “MOST PEOPLE HAVE A CAREER, BUT I HAVE A CALLING. “ Will the recent events stop me from traveling? No. However, they have served to strengthen my beliefs that what I do everyday matters. From Saginaw MI, I try to change the world; one student and one family at a time. Dinner table of global colleagues from: France, Indonesia, China, Germany, Estonia, USA, Sweden. — Jennifer Heusted-McKendree Marketing Manager at YFU USA International colleagues attend YFU Academy. Represented from left to right by: Ukraine, USA, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Lithuania, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Belgium, Czech Republic, Norway, USA, Germany, Netherlands, China, Estonia. Photo courtesy of Marcos Mezzottoni YFU • The Light | 31