Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Douglas, Zainab and Jesus
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Douglas, Zainab and Jesus

Teens have the power to change the world. At Rustic Pathways, we have witnessed students make lasting impacts on the lives of individuals and entire communities year after year.

Students on our travel programs apply lessons learned and return home ready to lead positive change. But they aren’t the only teens making an impact in their communities.

Young changemakers around the world are also positively impacting those near and far. We are recognizing and celebrating these teens in Rustic Spirit Spotlights.

These students serve as role models for other young people by demonstrating that each individual can make a difference. The following changemakers are doing amazing work!

Zainab Ibrahim
Age 17
Granada Hills Charter High School
California, United States

Zainab is the founder and co-president of C.A.F.E. club, which helps conserve food and engage students with their community. The club has placed bins throughout her school where students can put their unopened food instead of throwing it in the trash. Club members collect the food daily and store it until Zainab drops off all the food at a local rescue mission. Two hundred unopened food items were collected in just one week!

A year ago Zainab started to bake and cook in her free time and it has become one of her favorite hobbies. She plans to major in physiological sciences in college which will prepare her for medical school. Zainab aspires to become a neurosurgeon and cure conditions caused by nerve damage, especially paralysis.

Impact advice: If you have a great idea that will benefit the community don’t be afraid of initiating it. Don’t wait for others to act because they might not have your idea. Stop doubting yourself and take action. Lastly, get support from your family and friends. I wouldn’t have started the club without the support from my family and friends.


Douglas Leach
Age 16
Franklin D. Roosevelt High School
New York, United States

Douglas is the co-president of his high school’s Interact club. In this position, he works with different organizations around Hyde Park and has recently assisted with community clean ups and setting up a “Merry & Bright” winter celebration. Currently, Douglas is working with the Hudson Valley Regional Hospital on a fundraiser for their Pediatric Wing.

In his free time, Douglas loves to hike in the Hudson Valley’s numerous parks. He would like to major in Mechanical Engineering in college, and aspires to one day improve environmentally friendly vehicles!

Impact Advice: It doesn’t take much to make a positive impact in your community. The little volunteering opportunities that come your way are much more important than you realize, so take them!

Jesus Soto
Age 18
Foley High School
United States

Jesus does not shy away from challenges and chances to grow. He is always willing to lend a helping hand and often assists his peers in various school clubs. Jesus’ positive spirit and good intent spreads to those around him.

Jesus enjoys playing guitar and learning new things. He plans to pursue nursing in college.

Impact advice: Why not?

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