“It’s easy for me to talk about differences and diversity, but PULSE involves living in community with people with entirely different expectations and habits. PULSE is a reminder that my way is not the only way or the best way.
Ryan Johnson-Evers, a native of Muskego, Wisconsin, completed his undergraduate studies at Bluffton University with a B.A. in Biology and with THREE minors in Spanish, Public Health, and Mathematics all while maintaining honors his status. At Bluffton, Ryan worked in the Technology center as an assistant for a year and supervisor for two further years. Following graduation, Ryan traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras where we was a community facilitator for the Mennonite Central Community. He has also worked as a camp counselor for the Laurelville in Mt. Pleasant, PA. In his free time, Ryan enjoys playing soccer, Frisbee, and almost any sport, going hiking, playing saxophone and bass guitar, playing board and card games with friends, and reading and listening to music. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at AJAPO.
Bethany Arneson: What has been the most valuable part of the PULSE experience so far?
Ryan Johnson-Evers: For me, the most valuable part has been living in a diverse community. It’s easy for me to talk about differences and diversity, but PULSE involves living in community with people with entirely different expectations and habits. PULSE is a reminder that my way is not the only way or the best way.
Bethany: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?
Ryan: I enjoy working with the refugee and immigrant populations because their norms and expectations do not always match up with the norms and expectations that we have here. Their resilience is inspiring and it’s a good reminder that my [and others’] value as a person are not based on anything I can do or stuff I know, but is inherent to being human.
Bethany: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.
Ryan: A typical day at AJAPO may involve helping a client through the job application process or explaining their mail or navigating cultural differences. But you never know what the day will actually bring. Sometimes clients will stop in without appointments, or have difficult and unexpected circumstances come up, and it is part of our job to give sound advice and assistance.
Bethany: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Ryan: At Burgess 2, we love family meals — we eat together as often as possible. Our most common meal is tacos, but at every meal there’s always rice and beans. And whatever we eat, it’s always a lot of it.
Bethany: What is the best part of the PULSE experience?
Ryan: The community. It’s great to have support when you need it and friends to hang out with and people going through the same things that you are. I think all of the PULSE participants are really cool and inspiring.
Story by PULSE Participant Bethany Arneson.
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