By Bella Sullivan, NYLC Intern

Zahra Ali, a current senior at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, has been working with NYLC in many capacities for several years. She aspires to be a teacher, using her knowledge of the importance of service-learning and youth voice in the classroom.

“I feel like with NYLC, the something that keeps me coming back is that I see direct change happen,” says Ali. “Seeing a direct, immediate change like that isn’t something that I’m expecting to see in the other careers later in my life or even in the schoolwork I’ve already done.”

Over the summer, Zahra has served on NYLC’s board of directors, contributing directly to the organization’s decisions and development. She has also led multiple trainings for service-learning practitioners, worked closely with NYLC staff, created a set of learning standards from past resources, and had the opportunity to attend an annual retreat hosted by NYLC’s partner, Shinnyo-en Foundation

Zahra’s favorite part of her internship has been her collaboration with others, and the chances for growth that NYLC has provided her with. During a training session for Ukrainian youth, Zahra, along with other NYLC staff, realized they had to rework their session due to language barriers.

“I’m always learning a new way to do the training,” says Ali. As a future educator, she is grateful for learning how to be flexible when leading others, and is hoping to take these skills into her future classroom.

Zahra also recognizes NYLC as teaching her about the importance of communication and collaboration, as well as how to take her learning experiences and apply them to other areas of her life. 

“Your internship isn’t really a ‘clock-in/clock-out’ thing,” notes Ali. She believes that in order to benefit fully from your internship, “you have to incorporate it into your community experiences outside of NYLC.”

As the summer comes to an end, Zahra would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who has worked with her this summer, especially Amy Meuers and Julie Rogers Bascom.

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