17-year-old Angeline Ajit is using her skills for the greater good, as the high school senior helps people near and far by supporting healthcare workers and promoting education.
By supporting hospitalized children through Project Sunshine and serving as a volunteer that visits with patients at a local Texas Health hospital, the Dallas, Texas teen is laying the groundwork for her future career in medicine as she forms caring connections with people in need. Her service also focuses on promoting education, both as a tutor for American Space Kulob, where Angeline teaches students in Tajikistan how to speak English, and teaching impoverished children in Kenya, Thailand, and Indonesia through the International Humanity Foundation. Connecting with people in need of all ages both near and far, Angeline is pursuing her passions to better the world.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I really enjoy the satisfaction you get when you can use things you personally enjoy doing to help other people. I have other interests and do eventually want a career in the medical field so volunteering is a way for me to pursue my passion and also help other people.
Describe your volunteerism with Project Sunshine.
As the committee head for Project Sunshine at my high school, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, Texas, we’ve donated over 100 “Sending Sunshine” activity kits and “Surgi Dolls” to children living with medical challenges at local hospitals. The Surgi Dolls can be personalized and decorated, and are used to comfort young patients. Through fundraisers and events, I raise money along with 20-30 of my classmates and peer volunteers for these dolls and activity kits, which we then assemble and donate to local hospitals.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
It has been a lot of small moments like braiding a kid’s hair or teaching a little boy how to blend different colors together with a white crayon. It makes me happy to know that I’ve brightened up their hospital visits. Project Sunshine really spreads “sunshine” and raises awareness for the emotional needs of children facing medical challenges by helping to foster their creativity and self-expression. It reminds me of how beneficial the arts can be for therapeutic purposes in healthcare settings.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Volunteering is essential because a lot of organizations and charities rely on the generosity of volunteers to help people in need and specific causes. Committing to service is also a really good way to inspire activism and encourage others to volunteer.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
It’s been rewarding for me to make close connections with patients. These relationships help you develop greater insight into the humanistic and social aspects of medicine.
How have you continued to volunteer throughout the pandemic?
We are working on creating activities packets to inspire play and engagement to send to hospitalized patients for Project Sunshine, including puzzles and coloring pages. My volunteerism for American Space Kulob was already virtual before the pandemic, so this service has continued as I help to teach Tajikistan children English by tutoring, hosting a virtual conversation club and helping to grade assignments.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
Change. Volunteering is creating the positive change you want to see in the community.
When you’re not busy volunteering or in school, what do you do for fun?
I really enjoy reading. I read a lot of sci-fi and dystopian novels because they make me think critically about the world we live in. And I love anything artsy, like drawing and sketching.
How can readers help?
Please visit Project Sunshine’s website for more information about how you can help.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Angeline Ajit? Find local volunteer opportunities.