The CCI Program introduced the Community Impact Project (CIP) for the first time during the 2022-2023 program year. The CIP is an opportunity for the CCI participants to identify a challenge in their host community and make a positive impact by developing a plan from ideation to implementation. The participants have been creative, thoughtful, and diligent throughout the year identifying issues facing their communities and helping to reduce or eliminate those obstacles. In addition to making a significant impact on their host communities, the CCI participants are learning valuable leadership and project management skills that will carry forward when they return to their home countries. Using these skills and lessons learned, they will be better equipped to successfully implement sustainable projects that benefit their local communities upon returning home. The following Community Impact Projects are just a small sample of the variety of creative solutions that CCI participants found to address challenges facing their host communities.
Adapting his passion for horticulture and agriculture production to benefit the local community, Mpho Sekati (South Africa, KCC, Agriculture) designed a seed sharing library for his Community Impact Project. Making use of available resources and connecting with fellow CCI participant, Nolwazi Khuzwayo (South Africa, KCC, Agriculture), he gathered seeds for a variety of vegetables. Next, he worked with the Horticulture department to find a space to display the seeds and created an eye-catching flyer to promote the seed library. Students from all over campus were able to take seeds home to grow their own produce. From the pilot program, Mpho has learned what seeds are more popular on campus and will be adjusting his strategy in the future. He also partnered with Feed Iowa First and Kirkwood’s Sustainability Club to host additional workshops and events tailored to educating the student body on plant care and produce.
Akaansha Dwivedi (India, SCC, Business Administration) worked with the Agriculture and Hospitality Department on campus in addition to the local foodbank to set up a compost program in the Culinary Department on Sinclair’s campus. She was able to start by learning about this through the foodbank in Dayton and speak with the agriculture department to see what it would take to start it on the entire campus. By doing so, she realized that she should start smaller and decided to work with the Culinary Department to work on this and started the compost bucket program. They will bring their bucket to the local foodbank so the foodbank can compost the remains. Akaansha brought the head of the Agriculture Program to the foodbank, and she was so blown away with the compost program, she is looking into what it takes to start and create an entire compost program at Sinclair.
Josinta Waang (Indonesia, HCC, Business Administration) coordinated workshops for 5th grade girls titled, “What About Me” with The Women’s Fund. They taught girls at Montgomery Elementary School about health education, planning short-term and long-term goals, leadership, and advocacy. She believes that by teaching and empowering the girls, they will become a new generation of changemakers who will make a positive impact on society. The workshops were led by two women as facilitator and co-facilitator from various backgrounds and professions, who shared their stories and insights with the students. By working with The Women’s Fund organization, she created a sustainable program that can be expanded to other schools and communities.
Mauricio Gamarra Perez (Colombia, SCC, Agriculture) and Wonderboy Ntuli (South Africa, SCC, Agriculture) worked together to promote agriculture and educate students, grades K – 12, about where their food comes from. On February 28th, Mauricio and Wonderboy participated in a Black History Month event to discuss the historical influence of black people in the U.S. and around the world in agriculture and the representation they have in agriculture today. They worked with the Foodbank of Downtown Dayton, the Agriculture Department at Sinclair and several local K – 12 schools to talk about where food comes from, planting seeds and other activities revolving educating students on this topic.
Anat Sharipov (Kazakhstan, COD, Media) created a brochure as his Community Impact Project to raise deaf awareness, that will help deaf people in the College of DuPage community. The brochure provides tips on how to communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Anat plans to print and distribute 1000 brochures to students, staff, and faculty at the College of DuPage. Along with the brochure, Anat used the skills he learned while studying Digital Media, to create a website. Tips from the brochure and website include best practices for talking with hearing impaired people. It also demonstrates how to make simple signs to aid in understanding and tips to best communicate with people who are deaf.
The brochure is below, and website is here.
To provide necessary items for the homeless population in DuPage County, Illinois, Jahongir Azizov (Tajikistan, COD, Media) worked with two local homeless organizations, COD Cares and DuPage PADS, for his Community Impact Project. Jahongir is currently a CCI participant at the College of DuPage, where he collected 210 winter items including jackets, sweaters, and gloves, along with 38 toiletries and cleaning supplies. Jahongir also created 250 cold weather “warming bags” for the homeless and they contained tea, hot chocolate mix, cups and spoons, ramen, crackers and cheese, and cough drops. He feels the project made a huge impact on the community of DuPage and he intends to continue collecting donations until he completes his program.
Nobuhle Dimba (South Africa, FVTC, Agriculture) started a feminine hygiene product drive this year for her Community Impact Project at Fox Valley Technical College. Her initiative provides free products for all FVTC students, available at the FVTC food pantry. Nobuhle reached out to large businesses including Feeding America and Kimberly Clark, in addition to local businesses, who donated generously. She intends to make over 100 kits of various feminine hygiene products, a chocolate bar and an Advil sample pack. She partnered with a FVTC staff member who heard about the drive and wanted to be a part of getting students access to the products. According to Nobuhle, “My lifelong interest has been empowering women, and the month of March, Women’s History Month, is the ideal time to carry out this effort.” She believes in this mission because she wants to “promote menstrual health: Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to infections and other health issues. By donating pads, individuals and organizations can help promote menstrual health and prevent these problems.” She also wants to ensure that girls can focus on getting an education without worrying about their lack of menstrual products. On March 14th, Equal Pay Day, Nobuhle presented her project on a panel for the local community. A FVTC staff member plans to continue this program after Nobuhle returns to South Africa. Nobuhle’s TikTok video is here.
Andile Baklei (South Africa, FVTC, Information Technology), started a blanket drive at B.A.B.E.S for his Community Impact Project at Fox Valley Technical College. This is a nonprofit which implements family workshops to prevent child abuse. They are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing safe, no-cost respite care, educational support and services, and counseling to young families. Andile began supporting this organization by hosting a blanket drive on campus. He distributed flyers and set up donation boxes, but then it grew. Andile spoke with his mentor, who owns a local travelling movie business, “Fox City Flix”. The mentor played a movie at a local high school, and he requested donations for blankets. They received an overwhelming response from the families who attended the movie. Andile recently met a community member who commented that the project resonated with him because at one time, he was homeless. This individual will continue the project once Andile returns to South Africa.
Muhammad Yazid Alfarisi (Indonesia, NOVA-AN, Information Technology), Samyra Yoshii Gomes (Brazil, NOVA-AN, Leadership Development), and Pranavi Byri (India, NOVA-AL, Early Childhood Education) partnered up for their Community Impact Program to create Fun Time to Give a Hand. The three CCI participants coordinated with the Office of Student life at the Alexandria and Annandale campuses at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to raise money and collect food and used clothing for a local homeless shelter in their community. Below are the two brochures the team created to promote their four nights of fun. Two successful events took place with many NOVA students in attendance and donations collected. Two additional game nights are planned for the end of March and the end of April. Donations were distributed to a local homeless shelter following the last event.
Clarissa Pussung (Indonesia, KCC, Business Administration) identified the need to provide engaging English lessons and support young children’s English language learning for her Community Impact Project. Clarissa partnered with a local nonprofit, YPN (formerly Young Parents Network), to facilitate weekly lessons as part of the YPN parenting classes. Clarissa worked with YPN and CCI alumnus, Reski Gusman (Indonesia, Jamestown Community College, 2021-22,) to create activities that challenged the children while still making learning fun. In her initial lessons, she learned that the lessons she prepared were formatted for older audiences. In turn, she adjusted her plans to include more games, songs, and dances, which the younger children found more enjoyable. Clarissa saw firsthand each week, the impact of her project as the children used their English and were able to increase their vocabulary.
On Monday, February 27th from 12-2pm, Sitti Iyud (Indonesia, NOVA-AN, Media) hosted an interactive class to Get to Know Indonesia for her Community Impact Project. She partnered with the Embassy of Indonesia in DC. Iyud taught the participants about Indonesian culture through a traditional Indonesian instrument. She emphasized the diversity in Indonesian culture, but like the Angklung, they can come together to create a unified and beautiful nation.
Iyud chose this for her CIP because, “not many people I met during my fall semester know about Indonesia, where it is, and what we have there, I initiate to provide a day and share everything about Indonesia that the students might need.” The event was promoted by Student Life, allowing accessibility to NOVA students by mobile app, email, and campus wall. She also provided souvenirs, snacks, and Indonesian travel information.
A short video of the demonstration is here.
Felix Mawunyah (Ghana, NCC, Automotive Technology) held his Community Impact Project on Feb 23, 2023. Felix focused on educating the NCC community about their cars. The name of the event was called “Under the Bonnet”. Amber Gore, Felix’s Program Coordinator, took part in this event, as well as many faculty, staff, students, and community members. During the event, everyone was divided into 5 small groups. Each group worked with an expert (including Felix) and a car. The expert taught the group different skills including checking tire pressure, how to jump start your car, replacing fluids, learning how breaks work, replacing windshield wipers, and checking oil. Felix and the other volunteers answered many questions after the demonstration.
Three students, Tehsina Haq (Bangladesh, VCC, Business Administration), Sathvik Nagesh (India, VCC, Information Technology), and Ati Villafana (Columbia, VCC, Media) hosted a movie night to celebrate International Mother Tongue Day at Valencia Community College. March 21st is now designated as International Language Day at VCC, due to the presentation and movie night, that was co-hosted with the international club (VISA). International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999, while the idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. The United Nations General Assembly called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. After promoting the event, Tehsina presented the history of Mother Language Day, how it gained international recognition, why it is celebrated today, and how it can help protect the extinct languages. She made a Kahoot quiz and arranged prizes for the winners. Sathvik presented on India’s different languages, while Ati spoke of Columbia’s indigenous people’s language, called Ikun. Tehsina was overwhelmed by the outcome of the event. She believes many Florida residents do not speak English as a first language. The participants were encouraged to express themselves in their mother tongue. Tehsina also inspired many to learn a new language without being self-conscience of speaking with an accent.
Eric Gonzalez (Dominican Republic, MCC, Business Administration) established a clothing drive to collect new and used clothes for the One Small Step – Clothes Cabin Organization in Phoenix. One Small Step is an organization that helps children, families, and individuals living in poverty to attain a more productive life by providing quality clothes, shoes, laundry services, classes, and other support services. Eric collected 15 bags full of clothes during the event. He was inspired by individuals in need within the Phoenix area. Eric noticed the high price of clothes and shoes in the United States and wanted to help. Eric completed the collection process and looks forward to dropping off the items. He feels happy he can help this community and he hopes the clothing drive can continue with another CCI participant in the fall.
In November of 2022, three students, Nagita Valencia (Indonesia, VCC, Business Administration), Fnu Edwinnata (Indonesia, VCC, Agriculture), and Fnu Prandwinata (Indonesia, VCC, Tourism), participated in the popular Fusion Fest cultural fashion show in the first-ever representation of Indonesian culture. They walked in a fashion show showcasing Indonesian clothes and music. The three-day festival showcased more than 110 different cultures and drew thousands of people from across central Florida.
In conclusion, the 2022-2023 CCI participants made an impact in their local communities. Students presented their final CIP projects in front of their cohorts and some live-streamed or recorded them so families and others could watch. The projects were so valued by the participants that many wish to re-create them in their home countries. During the NOVA-Alexandria presentation, students were eager to start other students’ projects in their home countries too. Many also want their projects to continue in their US communities and that is a credit to the time, care and effort the students put into them. CCI participants learned many valuable skills this year while giving back to their communities in the United States.
Post written by Katie Ezekiel