Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Zachary, Ivey and Mahi
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Rustic Spirit Spotlights: Zachary, Ivey and Mahi

Drumroll, please…it’s time for Rustic Spirit Spotlights! What in the world is ‘Rustic Spirit’ you ask?

There’s certain traits we see in students that travel with us. These teens are empathetic and creative problem solvers. They are community-oriented and positive impact-minded.

But Rustic Spirit spans beyond Rustic Pathways alumni. Teenagers around the world are working to create positive change in their communities.

These students inspire you and motivate you with their actions. They have a desire to help others, protect the planet, and make the world a better place.

In our Rustic Spirit spotlights we recognize and celebrate these individuals. The following changemakers are doing incredible work!

Zachary Berkenkotter
Age 18
Hong Kong International School
Hong Kong

As the Senator of Service at his school, Zachary collaborates with other student service leaders and supports various service clubs, projects, and initiatives. The last month was dedicated towards “Gratitude and Giving”, and Zachary helped organize various school-wide events and supported the production of multiple videos in hopes of connecting with and cultivating gratitude towards domestic helpers, teachers, and grandparents.

Zachary is learning the guitar and loves it! His study breaks turn into half-hour music sessions. He aspires to help run an NGO or social enterprise in the Philippines in the future, and produce documentary films that can make a positive impact.

Impact advice: Rally support! There are people around you that are willing to help. You just need to reach out and find them, or pitch your ideas and get people engaged with what you’re trying to do! Also, don’t be afraid to start small and ask for feedback in every stage of the process!

Ivey Eatherton
Age 17
McIntosh High School
Georgia, United States

Ivey is always willing to help in any situation. She is a member of an organization at her school called Sources of Strength, a best practice youth suicide prevention project designed to harness the power of peer social networks. Ivey teaches positive ways to deal with problems that people can control. She aims to give everyone an outlet where they can speak about their problems so they do not feel alone.

In her free time, Ivey enjoys painting and reading. She plans to major in either Design or Architecture and wants to live in Sweden or Japan after graduation. Ivey aspires to one-day build houses for unhoused individuals using energy-efficient materials.

Impact advice: Start with small things. Whether it be in school or your community, start by smiling at random people or getting involved in an organization that helps spread awareness to something important that no one really speaks of. It will take a while to get noticed but if you try hard enough and keep working on it then eventually someone will recognize everything you have done.

Mahi Singh
George Washington Academy

Mahi is a thoughtful and organized leader. She’s been involved with different projects that all relate to various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Mahi co-organized a forest clean-up for Valentine’s Day to showcase love for the planet. She recently launched her own club at school and is in the process of creating a local action plan for SDG 4, quality education, and target SDG 3, good health and well being. The club will teach kids lesson plans in English and teach girls about female hygiene and periods.

She loves to read and is close to achieving her goal of reading 35 books in 2021! Mahi wants to major in politics or law in college.

Impact advice: It can be difficult to gather people to join you on a project. It’s helpful to ask a teacher to assist because they know lots of people and can spread your ideas. Also, if you don’t feel comfortable doing a project with many people, do it with few people or even alone. You’ll still make a positive impact! I believe in you 🙂

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