Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Zins

Jonathan is a senior at St. Charles Preparatory High School in Columbus, Ohio. In June, he traveled with International Samaritan to Nicaragua. He’s been doing some amazing work since coming back.

What was the highlight of your trip?
One evening we were to have a presentation from a student about a new product he developed. It turned out to be Jorge, who I had spent most of the day with. Jorge’s product was a new durable and weather-resistant building material, which would be perfect for homes. It was really impressive. Jorge shared a bit about himself with us including how he had received a scholarship to a major university but that he could not go to school without a laptop or have the university know that he was very poor. That night over dinner, our group talked and figured out a way to get him a laptop. Then, on our last day there, I was able to present the laptop to him in front of his family. That was such a huge moment because we all knew it would change his and his family’s life. I’ve since found out that my school has coordinated a small fund to help support Jorge with other school expenses and have been keeping in touch with Jorge online with occasional phone calls.

What impact do you think you made?
With International Samaritan, you go, you do, and you can see your impact. Going into it, I didn’t realize how big of an impact we could have in a week but it’s incredible. Our projects will help keep the school from flooding and keep dust around the school to a minimum. Both have long-lasting impact.

How did you get into giving presentations about garbage dump communities?
The Columbus Men’s Club and Knights of Columbus helped sponsor my trip so it was appropriate to share pictures with them afterward. I wanted to use images and stories help people understand what is going on and show all the good that goes on in Nicaragua, too, since many people think third world countries are beyond repair. I thought I could just do this as education, but at my second presentation, I was asked how to make a donation. I just took the opportunity to give them an inside view of what it’s actually like. I hope that my actions encourage others to take action.

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