To celebrate 10 years of the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, CCI alumni have been planting #CCISeeds around the world and posting on social media about their experience. So far, CCI alumni from 12 countries have participated in #CCISeeds, sowing seeds of good intentions for the future.
The #CCISeeds campaign started as a way for CCI alumni to participate in the 10 Year Anniversary service event at Lonely Dell Ranch, but has since transformed into a year-long opportunity to celebrate the impact of 10 years of the CCI Program. The #CCISeeds campaign is an opportunity for CCI alumni to share how their exchange year enhanced their personal and professional development and give back to their communities. We hope CCI alumni are inspired by what their colleagues have done so far, and will continue to share #CCISeeds posts.
In Indonesia, 2015-2016 alumna Ziadah organized a #CCISeeds planting event in Gerupuk Bay with children from nearby villages. Volunteers came together to help plant seeds along the road, and the children took breaks to read books that they brought along with them as part of Ziadah’s “Backpacking Library Program,” an EduLand initiative.
Before coming to the United States, Ziadah co-founded the organization EduLand, a unique volunteer community in Indonesia that focuses on education and the environment. While studying at Kirkwood Community College with the CCI Program, Ziadah would constantly pick up books that local libraries would give away for free to bring back to children in Indonesia. Ziadah was always capitalizing on opportunities like this, and as an active journalism student she took advantage of an early internship opportunity to take photos for the college newspaper. Now, Ziadah is a free-lance photojournalist in Lombok Island and also works as a research assistant, translating, transcribing, and taking photos for various universities and organizations from around the world that travel to Lombok. Ziadah continues to expand literacy and education opportunities for children in her community through her organization EduLand, and the #CCISeeds planting event she organized helped children realize the future impact of environmental efforts and the significance of education.
In Côte d’Ivoire Deborah Kobe, a 2015-2016 alumna from Miami Dade College, said “The best part of U.S. culture that I loved and brought back to Ivory Coast is the sense of community service … this is the seed that the CCI planted in me.” This mindset is reflected in the types of endeavors the alumni network in Côte d’Ivoire have been making in their home country. Since 2013 Ivoirian alumni have established two projects, “Mon Education, Mon Futur,” a program that aims to reintegrate children from the street into their families and schools, and “The Children’s House,” an educational safe haven for poor children in local towns. To celebrate these efforts and reflect on the ways the CCI Program helped them develop personally and professionally, four Ivoirian alumni from several different CCI Program years and host colleges planted seeds in their neighborhoods. Ouattara Nourdine explains “the CCI program planted [within me] the seeds of hope, vision and a great sense of empathy.” Through their efforts, CCI alumni are laying down the foundations for the future success of their country and community by giving back to underprivileged youth.
Some alumni have used the #CCISeeds campaign to reflect on the effect that their academic year in the CCI Program made on their professional development. A 2011-2012 alumnus, Zulfiqar Sheth, says that his studies at Northern Virginia Community College (especially the CCI Program’s Community, Society, and Institutions class) helped him become more globally aware, improved his academic writing skills, and gave him experience in cross-cultural communication skills.
Since returning to India, Zulfiqar has used the education he gained in the United States as a launching pad for his ambitious academic goals. He attributes his ability to secure admission to a PhD program to the skills he gained in the United States, and since leaving the CCI Program Zulfiqar has been attending international conferences to address global and humanitarian concerns. Recently, he was offered a prestigious fellowship to serve as a visiting research fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he earned the privilege of acting as the president of international students in the student union. The cultural awareness Zulfiqar gained in the CCI Program was invaluable. “[The CCI] empowered me so that I can empower my surroundings, and the experience expanded my horizons—I tasted new foods, saw new sights, heard new languages, learned new views, met different people, and I realized what it means to be a global citizen. For me, it was not a year of my life but it was life in a year.”
We hope CCI alumni are inspired by these examples of CCI legacy, growth, and impact, and we invite you to continue to sow seeds of good intentions by joining us in our #CCISeeds campaign.
Celebrate 10 years of the CCI Program by planting a seed in your home or community and snap a photo of yourself with your seed! You can plant anything, big or small, just tell us what you’re planting and explain how the CCI Program helped you grow and what you’re doing to impact your community as a CCI alumni. Submit photos, videos, or essays about your planting experience to email@example.com so we can share your CCI story, and if you’re on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, tag your posts #CCISeeds!
Photo, Video, or Essay Submissions
Explain how the CCI Program helped you grow. What “seeds” did the CCI Program plant within you that enhanced your personal and professional development? Also, what actions are you taking in your community to create a better future as a CCI alumni?
In your submission, please include your name, country, the program years you attended the CCI Program, and the name of the U.S. community college you attended (Example: Name, Country, 2012-2013, Scottsdale Community College). Take a photo of yourself with your planted seed, sapling, or tree, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re posting to social media, please include all the above and be sure to include the hashtag #CCISeeds!