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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: DJ, Nicole, and Rebecca
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: DJ, Nicole, and Rebecca

Rustic Pathways believes in the power of youth. When students engage in meaningful community service on our travel programs, small efforts add up to create a large collective impact.

We encourage these students to apply lessons learned through travel and return home inspired and ready to lead positive change.

Rustic travelers aren’t the only ones who are creating change. Teens and young adults around the world are already positively impacting their communities.

These students serve as role models for other young people by demonstrating that each individual can make a difference. We are recognizing and celebrating these teens in Rustic Spirit Spotlights. The following change makers are doing amazing work!

Dajuantay (DJ) Wynter
Age 17
Valley High School
Sacramento, California

In the role of vice president of the Key Club, DJ provided over 140 service opportunities to his peers. While leading the club, members served 2,988 hours, up from 300 hours in the previous year! Also on his school’s Student Equity Committee, DJ has worked to create a safe and equitable campus for all students, successfully advocating for the construction of gender-neutral bathrooms.

DJ describes a great day as going out for Sunday brunch or exploring downtown with friends. He plans to major in Political Science where he can continue his work in Equity. DJ understands that some of the greatest impact can be through law-making and aspires to one day serve as a senator.

Impact advice: IT IS SO FUN! Serving your community can bring you a great sense of joy and fulfillment. Please, I encourage you all to get out there and attend just one community service event. I promise you will fall in love!

Hyorin (Nicole) Shin
Age 16
Cheongna Dalton School
Incheon, South Korea

Nicole has had a passion for helping those in need ever since middle school. She focuses on making an impact in rural communities struggling with a lack of education and helping abandoned animals. Nicole has partnered up with various organizations to translate books for libraries in rural African communities, host bake sales to raise funds for animal shelters, and teach English to children in Cambodia.

As a huge BTS fan, Nicole spends most of her free time listening to their music and communicating with ARMY (their fanbase). She wants to major in International Affairs and Policies so she can continue to make a difference in the world, and her goal is to work at the UN in the future.

Impact advice: I urge you to take advantage of the opportunities around you! It doesn’t have to be grandiose, maybe just a small bake sale to raise funds, but know that you CAN make a difference.

Rebecca Tunes-Muniz-De Souza
Age 17
Biotechnology Research and Zoological Sciences High School
United States

Rebecca leads through example at her school and is an active participant in many clubs and activities. She recently organized a students vs. staff volleyball tournament as a fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization that spreads love to those battling cancer. The event was a big success and promoted the inclusivity of the three schools on campus.

Volleyball is Rebecca’s all-time favorite activity and she enjoys playing on her school team and with her friends or family members. She enjoys taking on leadership roles to continue to grow into the role model she wants to become. Rebecca loves science and plans to major in neuroscience in college. She aspires to become a neurosurgeon where she can contribute to the field of science through new discoveries.

Impact advice: Be yourself. Being yourself attracts others to follow in your footsteps and generate great ideas. Making a positive impact does not have to be something big. The impacts you make on others are what matter the most, no matter how large. You show your passion in your work. You are an inspiration to others who one day want to be making the same positive impacts you are doing now.

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