IFA’S  Student  Advisory Council

In June 2023, a number of outstanding students joined us for nearly three weeks on our service expedition that included 19 different service projects.  They were amazing contributors, who are on the path to become some of America’s great leaders   Please read what these students had to say!

Jacob Hansen

Jacob Hansen has lived most of his life in Edmond Oklahoma.  He has always been service-oriented, participating in many opportunities in his community, including as an Eagle Scout in the BSA program. Service has taken him all over the world.  He was a dental assistant in the Dominican Republic, a medical intake assistant in Honduras.  He took a two-year sabbatical from school to serve as a missionary for his church in both Nevada and Chile.  He currently attends Utah State University where he is studying Engineering. 

“Our service trip was amazing. It provided several types of service that allowed everyone to use their different skills. I preferred the dental clinics and playing soccer with the locals and refugees. To me, these two actions allowed me to do service that lasts and both are great ways to connect with people. The more touristy stuff like the safaris and animal sanctuaries were very fun and educational.
I learned a lot about the peoples of Uganda and the wildlife there. The cultural center dances at the beginning of the trip was a very interesting preview of the country.

The whole trip was very fast paced and we moved around a lot, which was exhausting. If I could change anything, I would like to stay in certain areas a little longer working with more the people longer because that would allow us to do more for them and to build a stronger relationship with them. We served many people and it seemed that they appreciated it, but to me, it seemed a little disconnected. I would love to go to the outskirt villages again and spend longer amounts of time there. The clinic there combined with working on the water borehole, and getting to know the people was up there in my favorite parts.”


Lily Hansen

Lily Hansen enjoys competitive sports, especially club and high school volleyball. She has participated in many service opportunities both in her home state of Oklahoma as well as around the world including French Polynesia, Honduras, Colombia, Dominican Republic and more.  In 2022 f she went to Malawi with HEFY where they built an entire school building with two classrooms. She is currently studying Business at the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

“This trip to Uganda over the summer was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I was able to meet so many new people and witness many amazing things. My absolute favorite part of this trip was being able to participate in dental clinics across the country. It was amazing to see how much better people would feel after getting a tooth pulled or cleaned. It improved their quality of life just a little bit which made me happy. I feel super grateful that I was able to be a part of these clinics. It was also amazing to go to the schools and see how excited the kids were to meet us and play with us,
I will never forget the looks on their faces when we got off of the bus and while we were playing with them. They would teach us games that they play at school and we were also able to teach them some games of our own. We also visited a children’s hospital while we were there, and it was inspiring to see how happy and excited the children were to get new toys and talk to us despite the current condition they were in.On top of this, we were also able to help distribute menstrual care packages to women in a South Sudanese refugee camp. It was sad seeing how desperate these women were to get as many supplies as they possibly could, but I felt good knowing that I was helping women in need that had nothing. I do wish that we were able to have more dental clinics throughout the trip and visit more schools. Because we were there for so long, I feel like we could have set up more projects to support the community. Although all of the relaxing days we had were very fun, I wish we would have spent more time doing service projects. Despite this, spending this time in Uganda was one of the most inspiring and fun things I have ever been able to be a part of. If the opportunity to be a part of this again were to present itself, I wouldn’t think twice about going!”

Leif Hansen

Leif Hansen is a Junior at Deer Creek High In Edmond, OK.  He participates on their Track and Cross-country teams.  He serves in his school, church, and community as well as service in French Polynesia, Colombia, Dominican Republic and more. He is also an excellent student.

“This trip to Uganda was a very special experience for me with many fun memories that I will never forget. One of my favorite parts of the trip was being able to get to know the children and knowing that just us being there could help make their day even a little better. When we made our first stop at a school, seeing how excited the children were to meet us was something I could never forget. If I had to change anything about my experience I would choose to spend more time with the kids and get more opportunities to just give them that joy they had when we were together. Another thing I really enjoyed about this trip was our visit to the hospital Although, having to see what poor conditions and health these people  had to live with was not my best experience, it brought me so much joy just being able to bring a smile to their face. When it comes to trips like these, just knowing that you are making someone’s day better, even just a little bit, is the best feeling ever.
 One thing I regret from the trip though was how our group split up at one of the schools. Half of us stayed to spend time with and entertain the school children and the other half went to teach the families from the village how to make and use a Tippy Tap washing station in order to wash easily wash their hands without using much of their precious clean water. I wish this had been done as its own separate trip so I could have both gotten to know the kids and still gotten this teaching experience.   I really enjoyed the service aspect of this trip and getting to know everyone on the trip with us. If I could do it again I would in a heartbeat!”


Luke Hansen

Luke Hansen was born and raised in Edmond Oklahoma.  He loves all sports and has particularly excelled playing baseball.  He currently is an 8th grader at Deer Creek Middle School.  Although he is only 13, Luke has engaged in many service opportunities through his school, church and community, and has also done service in  French Polynesia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and more.

“Being in Uganda was amazing. I really enjoyed playing with the children. It was really cool seeing them in school. I wish when we went to the schools we stayed longer than we did. Teaching people to use the tippy tap watering station was cool, but I wish it had been separate from the school trip because it probably only needed one person to teach them, and I felt like I missed out on the fun everyone else was having at the school.I loved playing soccer with the kids at the refugee camp. The refugee camp was one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was also fun teaching kids about baseball.
I wish we could have gone to more schools or refugee camps. The bus rides were really long but we had fun tossing gifts out the window to kids on the streets as we went by. For me, I liked seeing the animals but felt like the Nile boat ride we took was too long without much else to do. The bus rides into the park were fun because we could see animals but also play around with our friends while waiting. My favorite food was the chapati. I could (and did) eat it for almost every meal. I would definitely do this service trip it again."


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