For Union student Juliya Shirokova, the challenges faced by immigrants in a new country are very real. She experienced it herself when her family left Russia to find more opportunities and a better life in the United States. Now the senior psychology major hopes the Good Neighbor Community Center Samples of the World event can help many other immigrant families in Lincoln.
“Being part of Samples of the World allows me to appreciate all of the different countries and gives me a chance to give back to the community,” Shirokova explained. “It also reminds me how much of a difference just one person can make in the lives of others.”
As part of the Issues of Diversity class, Shirokova, along with her classmates and professor, Shawna Herwick, will help the Good Neighbor Community Center produce the Samples of the World event to raise funds for ongoing community programs, including the support of immigrants in the Lincoln community.
Samples of the World features delicacies from around the globe provided by both friends and clients of the Good Neighbor Community Center. With food typically representing at least 12 countries each year, the event helps demonstrate the cultural diversity right here in Lincoln. The evening’s entertainment will include traditional dances performed by Union students from Africa, India and Nepal, and storytelling by new Lincoln residents. Guests will also have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets for gift baskets and donate money so the center can install new flooring.
Herwick and the Issues of Diversity class have helped produce the event for the past four years. Shirokova helped last year, so she was happy to put her ideas to work planning and coordinating the volunteers. “My favorite part of this event last year was trying all the different foods from across the world,” she said. Union students also produce marketing materials, decorate and provide support during the event.
“It has been such a blessing to partner with the Good Neighbor Community Center each year to help make the event a success,” said Herwick. “The students in the Issues of Diversity class have the opportunity to support an organization that relates to our class, gain experience in planning a fundraiser, and understanding and engaging in the incredible diversity of Lincoln.”
Sponsored by several Lincoln Seventh-day Adventist churches, the Good Neighbor Community Center, located at 2617 Y Street, serves a significant population of low-income individuals and families in Lincoln—including programs to support new immigrants and refugees.
Samples of the World will take place on Thursday, October 15, at 6:00 p.m. in Heartland Hall at the College View Church. The church is located on the corner of 48th Street and Prescott Avenue on the campus of Union College. Tickets may be purchased for $40 each at www.gncclincoln.org.
By Megan Wehling, student writer