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New dreams for inspired Raleigh Bermuda duo

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Volunteer inspiration: proud Raleigh graduates Ashanti Smith, left, and Jasmin Smith (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Stories of self transformation and discovery abound for two graduates of Raleigh Bermuda, both of whom continue on new ventures.

Ashanti Stovell’s volunteer work with Raleigh is carrying on a month after graduation — while Jasmin Smith is setting off with a fresh goal in criminal law.

Both won awards upon graduation: Ms Stovell, to her surprise, got the Michael J. Spurling award, named after the charity’s founder.

Ms Stovell, 19, “got back from her Tanzania venture last year and stepped right into leadership as a project manager”, according to Raleigh Bermuda’s executive director, Tina Nash.

A role model for the 2016 group now overseas, Ms Stovell said her experiences with the group “showed me to be more patient, more positive, and less selfish”.

Raleigh’s Malcolm K. Outerbridge transformation award was bestowed upon Ms Smith, 24, who was nominated by her peers.

“I was kind of small-minded when I started Raleigh, but after the first camp we bonded; it opened my mind,” she recalled. “Africa was life-changing.”

Once uninterested in looking for a job or furthering her education, Ms Smith has since discovered both — and leaves in September to start legal studies in Britain.

Both women had heartfelt testimonies to the power of taking the plunge and learning to think beyond Bermuda.

“Don’t forget that the rest of the world is out there,” Ms Stovell said. “There’s nothing negative to Raleigh; it’s all positive in its impact. Don’t be afraid of it — you’ll find another family.”

Added Ms Smith: “If you feel like you have nobody to turn to, that our island has given up on you, you can turn to Raleigh. You can pursue anything you want and they will support you. They’re just a positive environment. There is nothing but love.”

Proud Raleigh graduates Ashanti Smith, left, and Jasmin Smith (Photograph by Blair Simmons)