Emmanuel College is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through the Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program.
Since graduating from Emmanuel College in 2016, Atka Bol has not only flourished in her commitment to service, she has let it take her across the world.
Serving in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia, Bol has had the opportunity to make a difference on a global scale. A psychology major with a concentration in neuroscience, Bol joined the Peace Corps months after graduation, and in doing so has found purpose in ways she never thought possible.
Immediately after graduation, Bol began work at a power company, where after a few months she quickly grew restless as she could not get herself to fall in love with the job. She decided then to join the Peace Corps because it bridged two of her favorite hobbies: traveling and helping others.
"My calling in life is to help others grow by showing them their possibilities in the world," Bol said. "This is why I applied to Peace Corps, it gave me the chance to travel to an underdeveloped country and help the children see their potential."
Bol is among the education sector of the Peace Corps-the agency's largest-and teaches English to Georgian students ranging from second to tenth grade. In addition, she also coordinates after school activities, such as an English club and dance and yoga classes, and tutors her host brother in English, all while being immersed in Georgian culture. Bol's day begins at 8:30 in the morning (sometimes earlier if the rooster chooses, she said) and is comprised of teaching lessons, much time spent with her host brother-playing soccer and hide and seek-Georgian dance class, delicious food prepared by her host mother, and cozy nights around the pechi stove.
Bol's favorite aspects of her country of service are the people and the traditions. Everyone she encounters wants to get to know her and make her feel like part of their family, and there hasn't been a day during her service that she's felt alone. On any given day, Bol said she receives a minimum of five tea or coffee invitations just on her walk into town.
"Georgia is a small but has a big heart and loves welcoming people," Bol said. "You will feel like you have found your extended family out here-and a grandmother that won't stop feeding you. Everyone here wants to learn more about Americans and want to teach you about their country."
Although she grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, Bol was born in Sudan, where she plans to return after completing her Peace Corps service to work at the school her mother opened for refugees of South Sudan. Bol wants to acclimate youngsters who were involved in the war to family atmosphere and positive schooling, showing them that there is more to life than fighting.
"Education is our key to the future, and must start with the young and wounded," Bol said.