From left: Nehemiah (YES 2015-2016, Nigeria, hosted by World Link in Arvada, CO) with fellow participants in a Global Deaf Panel.
“To inspire every deaf student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care” is a motto that November YES Student of the Month Nehemiah Danjuma has adopted from his host school, the Rocky Mountain Deaf School in Denver, CO. Nehemiah has devoted most of his 40-plus volunteer service hours this fall to that goal.
This dynamo from Nigeria is working hard to help all the students in his school succeed as he builds his own leadership skills to become an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Every Friday, Nehemiah mentors the school’s first Robotics program, the Junior First Lego League team. Nehemiah advises on the use of Legos and the children’s creativity to improve their math and science skills and show how science and technology affect the world around them. This is a highlight of his week. As a member of the math committee, Nehemiah volunteered at the school’s “Family Math Night.” Children and their families learned that math is fun through math-inspired games like discovering geometric shapes with play-doh and competing in a math scavenger hunt. As a member of the Junior National Association for the Deaf, he joins in weekly meetings to discuss issues and solutions related to school academics, finance, and events.
Nehemiah has also volunteered in other community events with his cluster. Recently he volunteered at a library book drive and spent a day volunteering at Operation Christmas Child, which packs and sends gifts to children all over the world. For International Education Week he gave six presentations, shared a traditional game with the younger deaf students at his school and translated names of his deaf peers into Nigerian Sign Language.
A special honor for Nehemiah was being invited to represent Nigeria on a Global Deaf Panel held at his school as the only student panelist. According to Nehemiah, the topics of discussion included “sign language, iconicity in ASL (American Sign Language), how culture affects language, differences and similarities between ASL and NSL (Nigerian Sign Language), advantages and disadvantages of a deaf person traveling, taboo behaviors like facial expressions, etc.”
Despite his packed schedule, Nehemiah is loving his program year – seeing his first snow, learning how to bowl, play field hockey, volleyball, and baseball. These short few months on YES have already been life-changing for him. His placement organization, World Link, is looking forward to seeing what he’ll accomplish the rest of this year and as an alumnus.
So are we. Congratulations, Nehemiah!