Christmas Spirit at Mayflower

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Johnny Khuu (rhymes with “cool” said quickly) has been serving as Resident Intern in the Mayflower Community since last summer.  He is the second post-graduate student to engage at Mayflower.  Ariel Lepito, a 2017 Grinnell College graduate, lived and worked with us from June 2017 to June 2018.  As a part of the program, the Resident Intern “volunteers” (works for subsistence wages) through AmeriCorps Vista weekdays, with the local office of Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA).  Supported by a Mayflower apartment and a meal-a-day at Mayflower, Johnny then volunteers on evenings and weekends with independent living activities in the Mayflower Community. He organizes and leads events, including driving Mayflower’s Lester the Bus shuttle to activities around town and east central Iowa.

Currently, Johnny is immersed in distributing Christmas food at the 4thAvenue MICA office—hams from Hy-Vee with a bag of groceries to make a Christmas dinner at home.  Johnny has been moved by the fact that most of the MICA clients are individuals and families that can’t quite make ends meet, so the holiday dinner can fill that void.  On Saturday evening, Johnny will be driving Lester the Bus for a Christmas lights excursion around the city of Grinnell, followed by cookies and hot chocolate in the Montgomery Lounge.  Since more residents than the Bus’s 14-rider capacity are interested in this event, additional carloads of residents will follow the Bus.

Johnny, a Haywood, California native, is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Political Science.  Johnny was living with father, mother, and younger brother in Haywood CA.  After college he worked for a year at a Whole Foods.  Then, applied for AmeriCorps Vista.  Wanted to see more of the U.S.  Was very curious about Iowa farming when he arrived, so spent some time with retired farmers living at Mayflower.  Same has been true for other Midwest features, so has traveled to Des Moines and Cedar Rapids for events.He served two internships in offices of U.S. Congressmen. Johnny’s goal is to stay in Iowa at the completion of his Resident Intern stint to get involved in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation political caucuses.

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