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Arusa Malik, serving Anne Arundel County

Arusa Malik is a senior at South River High School. Her first memory of serving was with her local mosque in middle school. She and her sister attended a camp that had a focus on volunteer work. She recalls making meal bags that were sent to a local homeless shelter for distribution. Her passion for service was ignited though through her time volunteering with Arlington Echo last summer. She served with Ms. Sheen Goldberg as a land steward where she helped restore aquatic wildlife, remediate plants, and ensure that no invasive species grew too large. When the summer ended she still wanted to find more ways to get involved, so she signed up for the AACPS Service Learning Portal, which provides students with options for various opportunities to serve.

The list of organizations that Arusa supports is extensive. Through the Service Learning Portal, she has been introduced to Bello Machre, Ronald McDonald House, Operation Gratitude, and NASA Goddard Environmental Task Force. With some of her classmates, she co-founded an organization called Backpacks for Baltimore. They collect school supplies that they put in backpacks for low-income students in Baltimore City. Her generous heart has touched the lives of so many. Arusa shared that some of her favorite causes include,  “equity and social justice in Anne Arundel County, equal access to education, and environmental volunteering.” She is able to support these causes through her involvement on the Anne Arundel County Executive’s Youth Advisory Council.

Not only is Arusa involved in serving her community, she is also a leader in many extracurricular groups. She is on the Service Learning Leadership Team, the President of her school’s SGA, President of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils (CRASC), community liaison for Let’s Talk Justice, President of the Key Club, and a volunteer tutor.

Everything that Arusa does is done with joy, a smile, and commitment. Her CRASC advisor, Mrs. Stacy Pellegrin said, “Arusa’s kindness, service, and positivity make her the perfect ambassador.  She makes students want to get involved!” When asked to share a few words about Arusa, her teacher, Ms. Shaila Kulkarni stated, “Arusa represents the future – she is an activist, she is an intellectual, she is an empath, she is a seeker, she is a dreamer, and she encapsulates everything that AACPS would want to represent the student body of our school system. I am lucky to have her as a student in my Calculus class and as an officer for the club I advise.”When she isn’t serving, Arusa enjoys traveling with her family. She loves exploring other cultures and enjoys the thrill of learning new things. She even once stated that she would prefer going to a museum over an amusement park. The knowledge that she has gained through her experiences has truly given her a wonderful perspective on life and allows her to give back to her community.

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