As the MannaUGA chapter wraps up our year here, I wanted to take a minute to let everyone know what we’ve been up to. This year has been a fantastic success for MannaUGA; we’ve worked really hard on the local and global fronts to expand our impact and really get the Manna name out there on campus. Internationally, we doubled our spring break involvement from one SB trip of 10 last year to two SB trips this spring—10 students to Ecuador and 10 to Guatemala. We now have established relationships in the communities surrounding all three Manna sites, which we hope to continue developing over the coming years. We also doubled our number of summer volunteers from last year. Here in Athens, we have been working on building a foundation from which to expand our local work, strengthening our partnerships with our flagship programs with the Athens Area Homeless Shelter and the Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela community center. With these two relationships strong, were hopeful that next year will see further growth on the local front.
Personally, I’m sad to be ending my term as a leader with MannaUGA. I was brought on board in the spring of 2009 when the chapter was being chartered, and served as the Communications Director for the 2009-2010 year. This past year, I was selected as the Executive Director. I’ve been on SB trips to the Nicaragua and Guatemala sites, and was also a summer vol in Nica in the summer of 2010. Manna has been become a huge part of my college career and will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve made great friends, been through lots of stress, and had some crazy fun adventures, but most importantly I can leave my post at MannaUGA confident that I’ve made a difference. Along with two years of wonderful MannaUGA Exec members, I’ve been able to build something from nothing—we’ve filled a vacuum in the volunteer culture here at UGA and created a vehicle in which students can think global and act local, where we can strengthen our own community while working to strengthen others. I think that’s a pretty amazing thing.
Of course, this isn’t goodbye for good. I have another year at UGA before graduation, during which I’ll be creeping all over Exec meetings and happily watching the next crop of MannaUGA leaders continuing to build Manna up past what any of us could have imagined when we got started. I’ll probable weasel my way onto yet another SB trip, and, who knows, maybe I’ll find myself working with Manna after graduation.
But until then—
Much, much Manna love,
MannaUGA Executive Director, 2010-2011