Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Abdulrahman, Gabrielle and Angelina
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Abdulrahman, Gabrielle and Angelina

At Rustic Pathways, we’re constantly inspired by the students who are making change in their communities and around the world.

These young changemakers embody ‘Rustic Spirit.’ They are empathetic, creative problem solvers, community-oriented and positive impact-minded.

They have identified an issue, collaborated with others, and created a solution. Through their actions they help others and protect our planet.

Rustic Spirit Spotlights are a collection of stories that shine a light on these amazing changemakers who have led young and are working hard to make a positive impact. Not only have they made a difference, but they are showing other young people they can change the world too.

Abdulrahman Abdulaal
Age 17
Hawar International School

Abdulrahman has been an active member of the student council since fifth grade. He recently helped in a clothes drive where the school teamed up with a local charity to donate the collected clothes. Abdulrahman also distributes food in low-income areas to assist those in need.

Music is a huge part of Abdulrahman’s life and he also dabbles in photo and video editing. His favorite way to have fun is time with his extended family at the beach, desert, or meals together. Abdulrahman aspires to be a successful dentist and provide his mother everything she’s sacrificed.

Impact advice: Do what you can. Don’t think, “this is too small, I won’t be making an impact or helping anyone.” You never know, maybe you will help ONE person and that is truly all that matters.

Age 17
United States

Gabrielle runs a service club at her high school that has fundraised for multiple charities, sent thank you videos to teachers during Teachers Appreciation Week, and held a mental health webinar for the community. Gabrielle is also one of the community service heads for her school’s National Honor Society chapter. In this role, she does service work and gets other students involved too.

Gabrielle loves to bake, play games, watch new shows, and spend time with family and friends. She plans on majoring in computer science in college.

Impact advice: All you need is an idea to start.

Angelina Xu
Age 15
Richard Montgomery High School
Maryland, United States

Angelina is an AVID leader and founder in several organizations in her region centered around advocacy. As a student, she was shocked by the amount of leftover food being thrown away in the trash, only to end up in landfills. In response, she co-founded an environmental organization called Compostology to divert food waste to composting facilities instead of landfills. In collaboration with elementary and middle schools in her county, she helped place food waste bins for students to separate their food waste into and created a mentorship program for high school volunteers to lead younger students in organizing the program. Thanks to her organization’s efforts, she and her partners received a $48,000 grant from the World Wildlife Fund and partnerships with her state delegates.

She is also a major advocate for financial literacy in high schools, specifically for historically under-resourced students in her county. Angelina mobilized over a dozen students to testify in front of her county’s Board of Education. She led a campaign of letter-writing workshops at local high schools that sent over 400 letters to the local Board of Education and state delegates. Because of these advocacy initiatives, the Board of Education passed a resolution to implement the Personal Finance course at all 25 high schools in the county.

When Angelina isn’t busy researching for her school’s debate team, she enjoys having long FaceTime calls with friends and going grocery shopping with her family. She hopes to double major in economics and public policy, which will help her with being an economic policy maker that makes programs to assist underserved communities.

Impact advice: Don’t be afraid to reach out to other students in your school for help! Even though it may be daunting at first, you are sure to encounter several other peers that are just as passionate about the same issues as you are.

Nominate a Student

Do you know a student doing valuable work that deserves to be recognized? Nominate them here! Are you making an impact? Tell us about your work here.

Make Change

Interested in creating change in your community? Check out our guide and learn how to make an impact as a student.

At Rustic Pathways, our goal is to make positive contributions to the communities we visit through responsible travel operations and community service projects that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About the Author

Kayla Anzalone