Volunteer Alumni Testimonials


I came home from this experience realizing how little I knew and how much more I need to learn about the Global South and international development. The images I have seen forever changed me and the stories I heard from the people I have met are forever with me.
—Joy Yedid, AJWS Volunteer Summer, India 2009

[This] experience definitely reinforced my understanding that volunteering is a great way to learn, to give and to experience another culture in a rich and interactive way. I will certainly continue my service learning work, in the U.S. and abroad, and I hope to integrate the values I pursued… I'm sure that I'll continue to volunteer, but I think that my work as a member of movements for social change will be the real legacy of my work with [AJWS in India].
—Lily Walkover, AJWS Volunteer Corps, India 2008

Volunteering with ASIC in El Salvador was a truly unique experience for the University of Michigan Hillel students. The conversations and connections they made with the community are invaluable. Additionally, the questions they asked and ideas they explored in a Jewish context will significantly affect their Jewish identity and view of the world we live in forever.
—Allison Sheren, Hillel staff at University of Michigan, AJWS Alternative Breaks, El Salvador 2009

Through my involvement in the service/peer learning component of AJWS World Partners Fellowship, I have broadened my view on the connectedness between social justice and Judaism. Through my interaction with the Indian Jewish community I have felt the importance of understanding cultural differences among Jews and have come to fully appreciate them. Through my conversations with co-workers of different religions I have shared the concept of Tikkun Olam and the reasons it motivated me to volunteer with an Indian grassroots NGO. Each of these experiences has strengthened my Jewish identity and reminded me why I chose to volunteer with AJWS.
—Dafnah Meron, AJWS World Partners Fellowship, India 2009

The experience was very worthwhile. It had difficult moments, but any genuine learning experience necessarily will. I am grateful that AJWS gave us this opportunity to serve and learn.
—Stanley Shapiro, AJWS Volunteer Corps, India 2009

I wanted to experience life outside my own culture. I wanted to work with children and empower them as much as possible. I wanted to make myself useful in the office setting and I wanted to pass on some of my skills and ideas to others so they could carry on. I feel I accomplished these goals but there is so much more that can be done...
—Nicole Schouela, AJWS Volunteer Corps, Uganda 2009

The value in learning was not one-way. Both the American students and the Guatemalans we met returned to their lives with knowledge and understanding of something they previously only read about.
—Justin Jacobs, University of Pittsburgh, AJWS Alternative Break, Guatemala 2009

The experience… has opened my eyes to so many important realities… Participating in this kind of work, work that advocates for individuals and focuses on both their present and their future, has been so meaningful and worthwhile. I have learned so much from the people that commit themselves to this cause that they so believe in, and watching them model what it means to be a caring, hardworking, devoted and conscious person has been invaluable. I am grateful to AJWS for giving me this opportunity.
—Abbie Steiner, AJWS World Partners Fellowship, India 2009

Volunteer Summer in Ghana taught me so many things—not only about the country and people I was living with, [but about] myself as well. I learned the importance of volunteer work, social justice and the role of Judaism in my life. I have come home a changed person who takes much less for granted, has a larger perspective on the world and hopes to pursue social justice for the rest of my life. Thank you AJWS.
—Mia Reilly, AJWS Volunteer Summer, Ghana 2009

Not only do I have a stronger commitment to social justice, but I also have the strength to speak out about it, and live my life accordingly.
—Katheryn Simpson, AJWS Volunteer Summer, India 2009