Kara Ewing, an electrical engineer at Innsbrook-based H&A Architects & Engineers, believes that volunteering is more than an extracurricular activity, in her words “it’s what you’re supposed to do as a human being.” As a volunteer for the non-profit organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, Ewing has traveled around the world to places such as Tanzania where she’s taught […]
Kara Ewing, an electrical engineer at Innsbrook-based H&A Architects & Engineers, believes that volunteering is more than an extracurricular activity, in her words “it’s what you’re supposed to do as a human being.” As a volunteer for the non-profit organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, Ewing has traveled around the world to places such as Tanzania where she’s taught children English, and to Peru where she fed people who could not feed themselves.
Placed in random groups of volunteers, Ewing’s experience with Cross-Cultural Solutions is one of complete selflessness and charity.
Ewing recalls her experience at the Mother Teresa Missionary of Charity house in Peru.
“We took in people that were sick and had been abandoned on the streets and in city hospitals,” said Ewing. “While I was there, one of the rescued men passed away. By the next morning, his spot was already filled…the nuns that work there do something I couldn’t do every day.”
Her desire to become a part of the organization began while planning a trip to Dubai a couple of years ago.
“Some friends and I were supposed to take a trip to Dubai, but I couldn’t get them to commit. I considered joining the Peace Corps, but the two-year commitment was too long. I started researching volunteer groups to join and discovered Cross-Cultural,” she said. “I had the opportunity to talk to past volunteers and learn about their experiences.”
Ewing learned about volunteering at a young age in her church youth group and has grown to believe it is her responsibility to help those in need. When she first told her peers about her plans to volunteer in Africa, they called her crazy.
“It’s a nice break from your daily life,” Ewing says with a smile. “I remember meeting a local man in Tanzania who owned an art center. He set up bank accounts for all of the students that came there and deposited all of his extra money for them to use for school costs, such as uniforms. He barely had money for himself.”
Her volunteer group has formed a special bond through these unique life experiences. Ewing says that many of them stay in touch through Facebook with hopes to visit each other in the future. She encourages her peers to join Cross-Cultural Solutions but has found that many people don’t have the “adventurous spirit” she possesses.
Her work does not just span overseas though, Ewing volunteers once a week at Gandy Elementary in Ashland where she eats lunch with a student that she has mentored for two years.
With five H&A employees currently participating in the elementary school mentorship program, the firm-wide approach is to support and encourage volunteer opportunities.
“If you can make difference for one person, that’s all that matters,” she says.
Ewing is already in the planning stages for her next volunteer trip to India.