Daniel Trust takes a group selfie with Leah Juelke and her students
Stories are very powerful and when we share our stories with the world, we never know who it’s going to impact. Our story might just change someone’s life and that is why I continue to share my story even though it’s painful to talk about some of my past experiences.
This past week, I had the honor of traveling to Fargo, North Dakota to share my story and the work I do at Daniel Trust Foundation with over 500 students and staff at Fargo South High School.
Leah Juelke, North Dakota’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, heard me speak at the Building Bridges conference in Fargo last year and thought my message and work with the Foundation would be an inspiration to the immigrant and refugee students she teaches in her EL English classes.
My presentation kicked off the school’s annual “Journey to America” writing project, where students who are learning English strengthen their ability to write in English and teach others about their backgrounds and cultures. The students write their personal stories and then these stories are published and shared at North Dakota State University and at other local colleges.
Daniel Trust answers a question from a student after sharing his story
“I would like to invite you to come to our school and speak to my refugee and immigrant students about your journey and your accomplishments,” Leah shared with me in the speaking request she sent me via DanielTrust.com. “I teach EL English at the 9-12 high school and we have a SIOP model that serves over 175 refugees and immigrants within a school of 1000.”
When I visited Fargo last year, the people at the Building Bridges conference were very kind and welcoming to me, so when Leah reached out inviting me back for another presentation, I felt honored and said yes right away.
The presentation went very well. I shared my own “Journey to America” story with the students and how I was able to become “Daniel Trust” - the confident young man who now speaks all over the world and leads an award-winning nonprofit organization that mentors and invests in low-income students.
Daniel Trust takes a group picture with Leah Juelke's students
“I showed my students The 5th Annual Daniel Trust Awards recap video and they were impressed and inspired by your work with Daniel Trust Foundation,” Leah said to me when I met her the day before the presentation. “They asked if we had someone like you here in Fargo, who can offer mentoring and scholarships to talented students like themselves.”
When Leah shared with me that her students asked her if they had someone like me in Fargo who does similar work as I do at Daniel Trust Foundation, It made me feel like I'm doing the right thing, so I told her that I hope my talk inspires at least one student who will eventually start their own Foundation.
A big special thank you to Leah Juelke and everyone that was involved in bringing me back to Fargo. Opportunities to share my story and work allows my team and I to raise awareness for Daniel Trust Foundation and bring in the additional revenue we need to continue supporting and investing in more talented low-income students in Bridgeport, Connecticut and New York City.