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Jonah Weiss ᾿21 volunteered at the Saint Mary’s Center after school program, where he tutored children of Somali Bantu refugees in Buffalo as part of his service-learning project for Philosophy 101. He says the experience provided him with a deeper perspective on how he viewed the world and also gave him the skills to think critically and thoughtfully. Wanting to share this experience with his family, Weiss suggested that his mother, local community activist Kristin Heltman-Weiss, get involved. He could not predict the chain of events that followed. Kristin solicited additional volunteers from her activist groups and donations to fulfill some of the Somali Bantu’s greatest needs. The response was so great that it led to the founding of the Somali Bantu Community Farm, which is now a place where generations of families, immigrant and native born, urban and rural, work side-by-side toward a common goal. Last summer, the farm located in East Aurora, fed more than 100 families.

“Getting involved in your community creates invaluable experiences that can lead to things bigger than yourself,” says Jonah Weiss. “I had no idea the change my volunteering could cause. Canisius is truly a unique institution that builds opportunities to further social endeavors with life-changing experiences and outcomes.”


Photo above: Kristin Heltman-Weiss and her son, Jonah Weiss ᾿21

Submitted by: College Communications