Rustic Spirit Spotlights:  Benjamin, Leslie and Maia
All Articles

Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Benjamin, Leslie and Maia

In Rustic Spirit Spotlights we highlight changemakers doing amazing work around the world.

The following students are working to help others and making a positive impact in their communities. At Rustic Pathways we are honored to recognize them!

Benjamin Song
Age 17
North Atlanta High School
Georgia, United States

Benjamin is the president and founder of the Groceries on Wheels Club at North Atlanta High School. Founded in 2021, the club currently has around 60 members and focuses on donating food to homeless shelters, hospitals, and those in need in the greater Atlanta area. In addition to the impact of thousands of dollars worth of food donated, the club helps unify the student body towards a common goal and gets members more involved in the community.

In his free time, Benjamin is an avid fisherman and golfer. He enjoys practicing catch and release while fishing for largemouth bass with his friends. Benjamin hopes to major in biology in college. This major will allow him to chase his dreams of entering the field of medicine and potentially pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon.

Impact advice: Start in any way possible. Volunteer your time, raise money for charity, donate food, etc. Your contributions don’t have to be large. All that matters is the intention behind your actions and your personal desire to help. In today’s society, little acts of kindness can go a long way.

Leslie Duran
Age 16
Mission Vista High School
California, United States

Leslie is a Link Crew leader at her high school. The leadership organization helps incoming freshmen feel comfortable in their new high school environment. Leslie enjoys being able to talk to new freshmen and give them advice that she wished she had when she was a freshman.

Leslie loves listening to music and her favorite artist is Omar Apollo. She plans to major in nursing and pursue a career as a labor and delivery nurse. Leslie has always known she wants to work with babies and be a nurse, so the role seems like the perfect fit.

Impact advice: Be yourself. Being someone you are not is not going to benefit you at all, but rather, will hurt you. 

Maia VanDenBerghe
Age 15
Summit Academy High School
Utah, United States

Maia goes above and beyond to help in any way she can. She participates in various service activities through her church and school. Currently she is helping with the school musical by arranging costumes, props, and assisting with lights and sound. Additionally, Maia’s family has been fostering animals for about eight years and is involved with the local foster organization.

Maia enjoys reading books and writing poetry. She aspires to become an English teacher for high school or middle school students after college.

Impact advice: The best thing to do is to be kind and to work hard.

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

Kayla joined Rustic Pathways in 2020 as the Director of Special Projects. She has nearly a decade of experience in communications and marketing. At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music and travel.