ETCETERA - 11/10/11

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Walla Walla High School Class of 2010 alumna Aislynn Beckstrand is in the midst of a three-month internship in Romania through Brigham Young University. She's been blogging about her experiences caring for orphans in Iasi (pronounced Yash) and working at a hospital there from Sept. 14-Dec. 10.

"I am loving my time in Romania," Aislynn said in an email to Randy Grant with the Walla Walla YMCA. In part this is because she met with several young women in Bucharest who are striving to establish a Y program there.

"It was so inspiring," Aislynn said. "They do not have a building or any facilities at all. Right now, the 'YMCA' is composed of five girls who are starting from scratch. It's more of a vision than an actual 'organization.' These ladies embody the vision and mission of the YMCA organization and it is so refreshing to see Romanians have hope in their country."

The women are working on three main projects. They have adopted two Roma families and are working with their children; they are striving to get after-school programs started and they are raising awareness about their organization and seeking more volunteers.

"This will lead to the possibility of an exchange program with some YMCAs in the U.S.," Aislynn said. "The key to all these projects though is getting an office or headquarters. That is what they are working towards here."

Randy added that "So often in the Y we concentrate solely on the needs of our community and lose track of the opportunities a little international exposure does for keeping our Y connected to others in the movement. (Aislynn's) email also reminds us about how blessed we are to have the resources that so many others only dream of having."

Aislynn, a former swim instructor and lifeguard in Walla Walla, keeps friends and family abreast of her activities on her blog at www.aislynnandromania.wordpress.com.

She received confirmation that she's been accepted into BYU's nursing program, which she can start once she returns to Utah for school. She's the daughter of Walla Wallans Scott and Tamara Beckstrand.

Sixty-plus National Junior Honor Society members from Pioneer and Garrison Middle schools and advisors Andrea Sundberg, Jami Eggart and Sue Schulz attended a leadership workshop at Walla Walla High School. The event in the last week of October was sponsored by Wa-Hi's National Honor Society and its advisors Crystal Holmes and Peggy Payne. They also heard from guest speaker 16th District Rep. Maureen Walsh.

Contact Annie Charnley Eveland afternoons at 526-8313.

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