Friends and colleagues:
I’ve been wearing hearing aids since I was five years old, which made me different from everyone else growing up. It also helped me develop great empathy for people who are a little different or face challenges.
Three areas of focus are particularly important to me in my volunteer work:
Disadvantaged children with hearing loss. For example, in 2015-2016, I co-led missions to several orphanages in Mexico and Israel, to test childrens' hearing. It was an eye-opening experience to interact with children who lacked parental figures in their lives due to death, drugs, or simply abandonment. I give tremendous credit to the orphanages I visited as they raised the children to be productive leaders in society.
Muslim/Jewish coexistence. The turmoil in the Middle East has dominated world headlines for decades: I recently undertook a yearlong fellowship with NewGround to promote positive interactions among Jews and Muslims. My Muslim and Jewish cohorts have become close friends.
Promoting tolerance. I recently attended an international social justice conference in Budapest addressing issues such as food justice, social justice, overcoming bigotry and other important topics.