In October 2013, AFSC Chicago intern Jessica Alaniz joined 18 other young people and AFSC staff, including General Secretary Shan Cretin, at the World Summit of Nobel Prize Laureates in Warsaw, Poland. Jessica shares about her experiences at the summit in this interview. Below is an excerpt:

Something I took back with me from Poland is something Laureate Mairead Maguire said: “Small things lead into big things.” You can’t expect to change things with one or two steps. You need to work locally and change things where you are. You need to build your way up.  Work to make a better community, then make a better state, and move on up to make a better world because of it.

I’ve always wanted to help people. And I feel like AFSC’s given me the opportunity to do that. Going to Poland made me realize that even though the steps I’m taking may be small, they’re for someone else.

A couple days ago I was talking with students we’ve worked with in the past spring break – some students doing mosaic work with AFSC. I got really close to a couple students. One was talking with me about how difficult it was to be in her neighborhood. I was glad she’d confided in me, and then it dawned on me that the work I do – I feel like it’s small.

But then I hear her talk and she says she sees a light at the end of the tunnel because she sees young people like me or Alberto, who’s also 19, or Raul, who’s 20, young people doing great things for other people. [Alberto and Raul are also AFSC interns.] To hear her say that made me feel like I am making a difference, even if it’s in a small way. It really brings back that feeling of accomplishment.

To read the full interview with Jessica, click here.