SOUTH PORTLAND — Six Maine college students received Maine Campus Compact’s statewide Heart and Soul Student Award on April 26 at Southern Maine Community College.

Each year, Maine Campus Compact recognizes up to six college students who are actively involved in transforming their campuses and communities into environments of civic engagement. These students have developed positive community and campus changes and have worked to institutionalize their community projects. They have implemented innovative approaches to social, educational, environmental, health, economic, and legal issues facing their communities, and they have demonstrated leadership through successfully involving others on campus and in the community in their initiatives.

2017 Heart and Soul Student Award Recipients are Alexandra DesRuisseau, University of Maine at Presque Isle; Ryan Herman, Bowdoin College; Alicia Rabideau, Bates College; Ahmed Sheikh, Bates College; Amanda Smith, University of Maine at Machias; and Nhu Vo, Saint Joseph’s College.

Ahmed Sheikh, a Lewiston resident, served as a tutor and mentor at Tree Street Youth in Lewiston, which prompted him to develop a community youth advocacy program called Somali Youth for Advocacy that encourages new Somali Immigrants to share their stories and make new connections in the community. He serves as co-president of the Bates Muslim Student Association.

During the summer of 2016, Sheikh received a Harward Summer Civic Fellowship to work as a Cooperative Educator at Raise-Op, a local limited-equity housing cooperative. This past fall, he became the Community Outreach Fellow with the Harward Center where he recruits, trains, schedules and supervises peers in various community engaged programs.

Currently, Sheikh is working with Bright Future Healthier You as a behavioral health professional, and works closely with youth who exhibit behavioral problems. Sheikh will graduate with a degree in religious studies this spring.

Established in 1994 and hosted at Bates College, MCC is a statewide coalition of 18 college and university presidents working to build strong communities and a more just democratic society by developing students’ citizenship and problem solving skills through community-based learning. MCC is an affiliate state office of Campus Compact, which encompasses more than 1,200 college and university presidents, representing some 6 million students dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education.

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