If impoverished children in Africa get new schools, Emily Shapiro ’14 of Raleigh may be remembered for the role that she played in helping to build them. Shapiro is the director of partnerships and programs for JamQuest, a nonprofit organization working to provide educational support to some of Nairobi’s neediest children and teenagers living in the urban slums of Kibera. Shapiro has traveled to Kenya several times on humanitarian missions to help the children and their families. She was there for three months during the summer to help plan for a school building while also providing support for children hospitalized in a cancer ward. Shapiro previously worked in Philadelphia for JamQuest’s sister organization, HOPE Worldwide, where she coordinated a volunteer program and traveled to Nepal to help coordinate volunteer relief efforts after an earthquake there in April 2015.
While a student at WCU, majoring in parks and recreation management, she had a summer job with AmeriCorps working at camps for at-risk youths. An advocate of a philosophy called service leadership, Shapiro believes that helping those in need, especially children, is the best use for her skills and educational preparation. “Basically, it’s just the idea being a servant first, seeing a need and trying to meet a need, not to seek a title or prestige, but for the betterment of the world,” she said.