“The ACE program is an amazing opportunity to transfer the skills I’ve developed from playing sports into an international service environment where I’ll be able to make a positive impact on a local community. ACE also gives me the chance to gain a greater understanding of a new culture, as well as to make lasting memories with an incredible group of people.”
Michaela Gordon’s past experience with service includes volunteering at Stanford Tennis’s EPATT Kid’s Day, which benefits underprivileged youth in the Bay Area. She has also volunteered to coach at several youth tennis clinics around Northern California, an experience that she has found incredibly rewarding.
Michaela is a junior on the Stanford Women’s Tennis Team and is majoring in Science, Technology, and Society with a minor in International Relations. Her passion for learning about new cultures as well as her interest in pursuing international service work led her to apply to the ACE program, where she made unforgettable memories serving in the Zola township with her fellow Duke and Stanford student-athletes. She especially loved working with women within the township and seeing their passion for learning shine in computer classes and first aid training. Michaela is incredibly grateful to have had this experience in South Africa and is looking forward to building upon this service work in her local community.
Want to hear more about Michaela’s ACE experience? Contact Michaela.
Dear Future #ACEathletes,
- Best advice for learning about ACE: Try to attend one of the ACE info sessions and talk to ACE participants from previous years! Apply to a program that resonates with your service interests and addresses an issue you are passionate about.
- Best advice for getting started at your program: Spend time talking to your fellow Duke and Stanford athletes about their service and non-service interests, as well as why they decided to apply for ACE! It’s likely you’ll have interests or hobbies in common as student-athletes!
- Tips for getting to know your community: Make sure you research the community you are working with prior to starting your service work, and take time to get to know the community members you will be working with throughout the trip. They are incredible and will give great advice on how to perform positive service work within their community!
- Tips for training: Learn about the training equipment that will be accessible to you during your trip, and talk to your fitness coach about how to best utilize the resources you have to do sport-specific training during the program. Don’t worry if you feel tired and have to take a day or two off of training during your stay, as the work you are doing can take a lot of energy!
- Tips for bringing ACE back to your team: ACE definitely provided me with a new outlook on how participation in sports can help you build lasting friendships with those around you no matter where you are. It has also taught me that skills developed from service work, such as dedication, leadership, and teamwork, often play a crucial role in sports environments as well.
- Reasons for staying involved in ACE: The ACE program has impacted me in countless ways, from providing me with unforgettable memories from the Zola township to teaching me about how to perform ethical service work within a community. I hope to transfer what I have learned from this incredible experience into future service work in my own community.