2010 Utah Young Humanitarian – $5,000 Winner

Kajsa Vlasic

Kajsa loves to immerse herself in any culture or situation where there is a need. While attending West High, Kajsa volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, ESL tutoring, Girls on the Run (acting as a mentor and coach to at risk teens), and the International Rescue Committee, mentoring refugee families in Salt Lake City. While juggling all these service activities, she was able to graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma. While dedicating many hours each week to serving locally, she has also found time to serve internationally in Kenya and Costa Rica, with Youthlinc and Amigos respectively.  Kajsa says, “I see myself as a humanitarian because I am happiest when I serve. The experience I have had serving others has helped me to be both more independent and more humble.”

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$1,000  Finalists

Brian Johnson

Brian started his humanitarian journey with Boy Scouts. In college he was president of his Rotaract club, leading various local service projects including canned food drives and raising money to provide wheelchairs to needy children around the world. In 2008 he traveled to Uganda for 3-months to work with local teachers, improving their skills and helping assess village needs. “Brian put his heart and soul into his work, set high goals for himself, and pushed continually to make them happen,” says Meghan Muyanja, the Uganda Project Manager.  Brian wants a career in medicine, currently attending Southern Utah University. Brian says, “My belief is the greatest humanitarian effort we can possibly render to others is providing them with the skills, education, and opportunity to help themselves.”

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Jerika Michel

Jerika’s humanitarian spirit has touched lives in Utah, Kenya, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil. In 2006 Jerika was instrumental in founding the Brighton H.S. Interact Club. Jerika currently belongs to the Salt Lake Rotaract Club, will be Service Coordinator for the Westminster College Institute of Religion, and is a Trustee of the Michel Foundation serving Utah Youth and other worthy organizations locally. Jerika volunteers teaching English to adult refugees from Burundi with the ESL Center, and tends her ‘Service Garden’ in Sandy, growing produce donated to local food charities. She wants to examine the impact and effectiveness a small garden could have in relieving hunger in the community. Jerika says, “It is not always large, complicated projects that make a humanitarian, it is a constant awareness of others’ needs both big and small and trying to help your community and world.”

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Hanne Paine

For the last 4 years Hanne has dedicated her time to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, logging nearly 1500 hours, and becoming their first certified master programmer. Hanne’s principal service goal is to inspire girls of all backgrounds to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math. Hanne graduated from West H.S with an International Baccalaureate diploma and was a West High Service Learning Scholar. At West, Hanne tutored English Language Learners, assisting in after school events and home visits, and helped establish a comprehensive ELL program. Hanne says, “Everyone benefits when we use our own passions to help those in need. My greatest experiences have been sharing my love of learning and the empowerment it brings with students seeking higher education, classroom skills and, most importantly, dignity.”

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Ryan Price

For the last 4 years Hanne has dedicated her time to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, logging nearly 1500 hours, and becoming their first certified master programmer. Hanne’s principal service goal is to inspire girls of all backgrounds to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math. Hanne graduated from West H.S with an International Baccalaureate diploma and was a West High Service Learning Scholar. At West, Hanne tutored English Language Learners, assisting in after school events and home visits, and helped establish a comprehensive ELL program. Hanne says, “Everyone benefits when we use our own passions to help those in need. My greatest experiences have been sharing my love of learning and the empowerment it brings with students seeking higher education, classroom skills and, most importantly, dignity.”

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