Name: Jennifer Rice
From: Tallahassee, Florida
School: Florida A&M University
Last year, I
started an International Food Club called the Melting Pot. The name
“The Melting Pot” described my high school community. It
was like a pot, mixed with multiple families from different places
and ethnic backgrounds, all coming together for the purpose of
education, fellowship, sports, and worship
God. One thing that my school and my spiritual walk taught me is to
use my knowledge and experience to serve others. Diversity and
tolerance are such an important aspect of humanity. So, it was time
to create a place where we could do just that! I knew the greatest
challenge would be recruiting students who felt like they didn’t
belong anywhere. So, the club had to be a place where anyone and
everyone was welcome. We began to celebrate our differences and
promote our commonalities through fellowship and food. Each month,
we recognized a different ethnic group from our student body. The
committee presented common customs, history, and food of each
culture. I arranged catering and developed an advertising strategy.
We learned the language, played music and videos, and hosted a
speaker. For the 1st
time, everyone ate together and laughed together. Planning, set up,
hosting, and clean up took about 15 hours per month. Forward
thinking means planning ahead to maintain a positive environment.
From this club grew long lasting awareness, diversity, acceptance,
tolerance, integration of different cultural backgrounds, and an
understanding of the courage that it takes to come to this country
and learn new customs while still preserving your own
history/culture. We became a family. This was the greatest reward!
Our whole world needs to be just as open minded.