Growing up, 18 year-old Nina Mermelstein learned tons about service and social justice at school, but her interest in tikkun olam broadened from a local to a global focus after she attended a life-changing summer service trip to Ghana with Repair the World grantee-partner, American Jewish World Service, (AJWS).
Today, Nina is a freshman at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Public Health. Nina took the time to speak with Repair the World about building a latrine in Ghana, bringing one of the country’s champions of children’s rights to her community, and the global hunger Shabbat she’s planning to host this fall.
What is your background with service?
I went to a Jewish day school in Great Neck, New York that really stressed doing community service as part of a Jewish life. It was a major point they tried to make throughout my upbringing and education. In high school I joined a few service organizations and spent my summers doing community service projects. The summer after my freshman year I went to Puerto Rico on a service trip and helped build a hurricane shelter for the community we visited. That experience really opened my eyes to a different culture, and from there my interest in global service grew.