Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Nipuna Ambanpola, a member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University and former member of Interact
Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.
I joined the Interact Club of Royal College, the second oldest club and the oldest continuously functioning club in Sri Lanka in 2009. Since then I’ve been involved in Rotary through Interact and Rotaract. I served the Interact Club of Royal College for four years and the last year I was appointed as the president of the club. Then, I went on to accomplish my duties in the Interact District 3220 as the District Interact Secretary for 2013-14.
Studying in the United States
In 2015, I got a scholarship to study in the United States through the Georgia Rotary Student Program, a youth scholarship program established to promote peace and understanding across the globe. Last year, I took the initiative to start a Rotaract club at Armstrong State University, the college I’m currently studying at. Right now I’m working with the Governor of District 6920 to connect Rotaract and Rotary clubs in the district.
Servant leadership has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I live by the quote:
“The good you do to society will do good to you.”
Volunteering has been the vehicle of hope that I’ve used to connect myself to the world. When I volunteer, I meet new people, make new friendships and learn about new cultures.
In 2016, I initiated an international non-profit organization called IVolunteer International. It is a registered non-profit organization in the United States. IVolunteer International strives to elevate the quality of human life across the globe by connecting individuals with volunteer projects around the world. We hope that when we connect volunteers to projects, we not only create an altruistic community but also empower people to be sustainable and grow together.
Being a global citizen
Another thing we do is empower charity organizations in the world who are in need of volunteers. Since 2016, we have connected about 900 volunteers for over 25 projects around the world. We are small but I’m hopeful to build communities united by service.
Rotary has provided me with a global view. When I look at a global issue or when I engage in a conversation, I represent myself as a global citizen without limitation of nationality, religion, economic status or any other category. I have learned to look for the best interests of everyone around the world even if I haven’t ever met them.
Rotary has taught me that no matter where people live or what faith they believe in, we all strives for the same things – happiness and love. It has changed my world view and my perspective of life and has so far been the motivation for my contributions to community, country, and the world.