For graphic designer Christian Rincon, volunteering is a way to stay connected with the community. When he is not creating beautiful visuals as Points of Light’s senior graphic designer, Christian is passionate about using his creative skills to help local organizations serving Atlanta’s refugee and youth communities. As a skills-based volunteer with Friends of Refugees and Soccer in the Streets, he has found an unconventional, yet impactful way to support the causes he cares about.
What do you do when a second grader tells you he doesn’t know his birthday? Or when that same little boy says he doesn’t even know what a birthday is? Julia Warren was only 16-years-old when she had this heartbreaking conversation as a volunteer at a Title I elementary school in Richmond, Virginia. After she explained to the student, a little boy named Charles, what a birthday was, all he could muster for an answer was, “I think I was born when it was cold.”
In a game where one wrong move can risk your path to victory, Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson encourages young adults and children to not focus on the chess pieces they have lost, but rather on what’s left on the board – and to never give up. Preaching the power of thinking strategically and making better life decisions, Orrin, a 55-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, teaches his students the game of chess through what he calls the six magic words: “Take time to think things through.” These words have connected Orrin with more than 55,000 children in 30 states nationwide and internationally, including trips to the Philippines, India and Canada.
“I don’t want to be the exception. I want to be the person to inspire other kids and provide ways for them to be like me some day, and better," says Heval Kelli. As a young refugee in Georgia, Heval found mentorship and guidance from a local doctor who invested in his future. Now a cardiology fellow at Emory University, Heval is determined to give back to his community by investing his time and experience in the next generation of aspiring physicians.