JBFC New Faces: Guest Coordinator

May 13, 2013 3:25 pm Published by

Guest Blogger, Amanda Winge, is serving as JBFC’s Guest Coordinator for Summer 2013.

I met Chris Gates in the sixth grade at Holland Hall and we have remained close friends ever since. The summer between graduation and the start of college, I was looking for a job and Chris suggested that I work for his grandfather, Ray Batchelor, as he was in need of a secretary for the summer. Ray would always have these fantastic photos of Chris and his grandmother, Janada, in Africa, just as JBFC was taking off. I watched in awe throughout the years as the buildings grew, more and more animals entered the scene, and slowly more smiling faces of young Tanzanian girls were added to the pictures. I’d always had an interest in traveling and learning about other cultures, but opportunities were not always easy to come by for various reasons. I had the chance to study abroad in college, but being nervous to step outside my comfort zone too far, I took the typical college route and went to Europe for a year. 

After graduating from OU in 2009, I decided it was time to really step out of my comfort zone and I moved to Egypt that fall, with absolutely no idea of what to expect. I left Egypt with a certificate to Teach English as a Foreign Language, amazing new friends, and more importantly, the knowledge of knowing that I could step out of my comfort zone and adapt to new situations. The experience changed my life and gave me the courage to tackle the world head on, and I’ve never looked back.
The opportunity to work at JBFC this summer as the Guest Coordinator could not have come at a better time. Having just spent the past year working as an academic coordinator for international exchange students, I was in search of a meaningful summer position where I could continue working with young people who were traveling and had a real desire to explore the world. The international students I worked with were high schoolers, young but completely courageous in the fact that they were already venturing into the unknown in their own. The Guest Coordinator position at JBFC allows me to continue supervising young volunteers as they too, start their personal journeys to become more culturally aware global citizens. 
I am definitely excited to finally see the JBFC campus in person and meet all of the students, but I am absolutely thrilled to be working closely with the volunteers for the summer. This is a tremendous opportunity that these young volunteers have, and there is no doubt in my mind that the experience will have a long lasting impact on their futures. Whether it’s trying a new food, learning a new skill, helping a student with reading, or even stepping outside of their comfort zone for a couple of weeks, the volunteers will walk away from this summer experience with an open mind and an open heart. I am so excited to be able to help the volunteers get the absolute most out of their time at JBFC! 
For more information about volunteering at JBFC, please click here.

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This post was written by Mainsprings