This year I have been eternally grateful to be given multiple opportunities to serve at Ethiopian Tewhedo Social Services, also known as ETSS. ETSS’s mission is to help immigrants and refugees from all different countries accustom to the United States and gain self-sufficiency. Ethiopian Tewhedo had three main programs: an adult program, an afterschool program for kids, and a summer program for their kids as well. The adult program focuses on further developing their English skills, learning American vocabulary and cultural themes, learning about the United States’ government and history to help some gain citizenship, and helping them take the steps to further their education or start a career in the nearby Columbus area. The afterschool/ summer programs are directed towards the children of parents who are refugees or immigrants, as it may be a hard transition for them as well. These programs are led by teachers who divide them up by grades in focus groups and provide homework help, spend time developing reading skills, and implementing cultural stimulation.
Last semester as a part of my group global project, I got a chance to participate in service for ETSS and learn a whole lot about them. I was able to spend a night assisting in their adult program, where I was able to help a group of men and women learn how to communicate daily routines along with the weather. I aided them in completing worksheets, learning new vocabulary, and by correcting their grammar and pronunciation through spelling and reading. I also was able to spend time with the kids by our group taking them on a tour around OSU’s campus and providing a presentation on the importance of furthering education. This was a very amazing experience to be able to give the students motivation to do well and succeed in school a and show them that there are many different routes to success, whether college ends up being in their future or not. This semester, I was given the opportunity to work closer with ETSS by helping out in their office and providing ideas and feedback during their Curriculum Committee meetings, where they plan to further develop a set curriculum and daily lesson plans for their after-school programs to better them. In addition, twice a week I help run this program at one of their site locations. Here, I assist the teachers by making sure the kids are completing all their homework, spending time reading each day, and providing one-on-one help if needed.
ETSS has done so much for me this past year and has broadened my mindset on the world around me. Getting to know these refugees and immigrants has been a privilege to me, for they have taught me so much by hearing their stories. The first time I worked with ETSS, I spent time one-on-one with this one man who was a refugee from a country in Africa. He told me his story on how him and his wife used to live a normal life with normal careers, as a dentist and a computer programmer. He talked about how the government in his country was so dangerous and incontrollable. His business got destroyed and the lifestyle that they would’ve been forced to live would be unbearable. It was so crazy to me how they literally had such normal lives just like people here in the U.S. and it all changed in a blink of an eye. Even though they had to go through this hardship of having to come to a new country and start a new lifestyle, they stayed so optimistic for the future were so grateful and excited to reach their new life goals. This moment was so humbling because we often take advantage of what we have around us. I was able to recognize this by opening my mind to new perspectives and create a new way of thinking.
My decision to join Mount Leadership Scholars Program is one of the most significant moments in my college experience. My best friend, Melanie, who is current a third-year post Mount is the reason I fell in love with Ohio State and wanted to apply and become a Mount Scholar. My senior year of high I visited her several times and got to meet all the wonderful people that she surrounded herself with at school, who were all involved in Mount. Melanie and her friends told me all about Mount and their experiences, and just by that and witnessing this atmosphere, it gave me a positive impression on Mount. I love service and wanted to gain leadership skills, so I knew in my heart this was going to be the perfect fit for me. I was right. I met the most amazing people ever, including some who will be a few of my closest friends for the rest of my life. I have learned so much about myself through this program and can feel myself grow as a person. I have amazing influences in my first year of college and have already witnessed some of the greatest experiences I have been a part of during my first year at Ohio State so far. Mount has done so much for me only a semester through and will continue to throughout my four years at Ohio.
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Global Awareness: I take Spanish classes due to my double major and learn a lot about different Hispanic cultures, norms, and beliefs. In addition, I am looking into studying abroad in Spain this upcoming semester to broaden my perspective of the world!
Original Inquiry: I take great interest in marketing research at our university and plan on looking into programs.
Academic Enrichment: I am taking vigorous business and Spanish core classes, required by my majors. I strive to make Dean’s List every semester and maintain a 3.6 cumulative GPA.
Leadership Development: I am a co-chair in the Member Development Committee in Mount Leadership Society scholars program. I facilitate weekly meetings with my fellow co-chairs and plan events to further engage scholars in the program of all years.
Service Engagement: I am completing 75 hours of service at ETSS, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services in their after school program.
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My junior year of high school in key club, a group of students and I created a community garden in our city, North Royalton, to donate fruits and vegetables to an organization in need. It seemed nearly impossible since there were only about ten of us and we had to start from scratch with an empty large space with dry dirt near our city hall. We broke up in small groups and took upon leadership roles; we came up with a game plan and gave each other different jobs so that everyone had their own responsibilities they had to commit to. After 4 hours, we were able to break up the soil, weed, shovel and wheel in new dirt, create rows, and plant crops successfully. From this, I adapted skills as a leader and voiced my opinion to help better a situation. Also, I learned perseverance and how when you have a dedicated group of people who all have a passion for what they do and common goal, no matter what the job or issue is, it can be done or fixed when hard work is put into it.
Sofia Aceto is a first year undergraduate student attending The Ohio State University. She is studying at Fisher College of Business to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Finance to pursue a career in marketing management. Aside from her academics, Sofia enjoys dedicating time to extracurricular activities to stay involved in campus life. She is a member of Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program, where she takes part in several volunteer service projects and learns how to develop skills as a leader, which she will make use of in her future career. In addition to Mount, Sofia pursues to become of member of the Undergraduate Student Government, where she has a strong desire to better life on campus for students, as well as a member of of the Ohio State Club Volleyball Team. When not in school, Sofia enjoys staying social by spending her time on the court playing volleyball, as well as taking part in various activities around campus and outside, in the city of Columbus, with friends. If you have questions about campus life at Ohio State or studying business at Fisher College, feel free to contact Sofia with any questions!