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Amy John-Terry, a seventh grader from Manchester, Connecticut, is proving that you’re never too young to make a difference.

Amy John-Terry staffing an Educator's Conference on behalf of Heifer International
Amy John-Terry staffing an Educator's Conference on behalf of Heifer International

Every fall since 2004, sixth graders at Renbrook School in West Hartford, Connecticut, study Heifer International and the countries in which we work. The students complete their program by holding a large Living Gift Market fundraising event that November. They invite family and friends to come and learn about the countries and animals that they have studied, and to purchase Heifer gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

 Learning about Heifer had a big impact on John-Terry.

“The experience had a big impact in the studies of my sixth grade class as it fostered a passion to help others, as together we were creating a better world…We learned about hunger, poverty and life in other parts of the world. We read novels, studied and discussed global issues and we became aware of our role as citizens of a global community,” she said.

It was this experience, John-Terry says, that made her realized she was “inspired and passionate to become a Heifer Volunteer.”

This year John-Terry has become a valuable volunteer and educator. She has staffed Heifer events, communicated with donor communities, and even educated other volunteers about the scope and impact of our work in Africa. While Heifer Community Volunteers need to be 18 years of age, Amy’s mother is committed to helping her daughter pursue her passion, so she accompanies and supports Amy at each volunteer opportunity.

“As a result of my experience as a Heifer volunteer, I have learned that I have the power to create a better world for children and families. I have become more appreciative of everything I have and more aware of the challenges faced by so many people in the world. I feel more connected to others in the world and more aware of my responsibility as a citizen of the global community” she said.

Recently John-Terry was asked to present the current sixth grade class at Renbrook School with a “Make a Difference Award” for their extraordinary work in learning and fundraising. She recognized the students’ work as well as the importance of continuing to be global citizens. After the award presentation, John-Terry spoke to Dr. Marek Beck, Head of the Upper School to propose organizing a dance next spring to involve the upper classes in learning more about Heifer’s work and raising even more funds to support it.

It is an indescribably uplifting feeling one gets when your efforts help to improve and transform the lives of people. Amy John-Terry, Heifer volunteer

Head of the Renbrook Upper School English Department Beverly Fitzsousa shared that John-Terry stands out among her peers.

Her “awareness of and concern for the world outside of her peer group distinguishes her,” Fitzsousa said. “In a recent essay, Amy discussed the importance of coming into contact with people who are different, particularly those from other economic backgrounds. Diversity is important to her, and she lives her beliefs by working for Heifer International.”

When asked what advice she had for other young people, John-Terry said she would “encourage them to get involved because they can make a difference at any age. It is an indescribably uplifting feeling one gets when your efforts help to improve and transform the lives of people.”

“Heifer’s work is changing the world and making it a better place. Heifer is worth my time because as a young Heifer volunteer…I too am helping to end hunger and poverty for so many children and families in the world, improve their lives and make the world a better place.”

Our  deepest thanks to Amy John-Terry and to all of the young change makers out there working to create a better world!

Story by Liz Ellis, Heifer community engagement coordinator