UND student volunteer honored

COMMUNITY Hannah Bahnmiller named state Youth Service Ambassador.

After spending nine months studying abroad in India, geography and anthropology major Hannah Bahnmiller learned how difficult it can be to transition to another culture.

The Warroad, Minn., native’s experience led her to volunteer with the Global Friends Coalition, which provides services to refugees resettling in the Greater Grand Forks community.

“You cannot imagine how hard it is to permanently be in a different culture and the transition and shock that goes along with it,” Bahnmiller said.

Her efforts recently earned her the title of Youth Service Ambassador for the state of North Dakota — a year-long ambassadorship and one of 51 awarded each year.

Through her position, Bahnmiller  traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a three-day leadership conference in September, which is National Child Awareness Month.

She also received a $1,000 grant through the Youth Ambassador Program, which will be used to support the Resilient Youth Program. The program pairs high school English learners in Grand Forks with young adults to help the students gain confidence in their English speaking skills.

Bahnmiller mentors new immigrants at Grand Forks Red River High School and teaches English along with performing other tutor duties.

Although English classes are readily available, they fill up fast, according to Bahnmiller. To combat this, she recruits UND students to help volunteer in the program.

Bahnmiller says highlights of her work include mentoring a Nepali Bhutanese woman by tutoring her for the United State  citizenship exam and teaching her how to drive.

While teaching the woman, Bahnmiller says she became a student herself.

After graduating from UND, she plans to go to graduate school to pursue a career in urban planning and development.

Nathan Guilemette is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]