Ridgefield High School
International Business Internship Program
Our Life-Changing Project
Class of 2022
Hi, my name is Allison Foley, and I am a freshman at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut. I am involved in many different activities both in and out of school. For the school, I play tennis, and I am on the freshman student government as a senator. Recently, I participated in a national poetry reciting competition called Poetry Out Loud and placed second for my school. Outside of school I am a committed competitive dancer, and I participate in multiple styles of dance. I also love photography and videography and have made mini documentaries for a local bakery. Each summer, I take classes at Rhode Island School of Design for drawing and videography. Last spring, I created and ran an online handmade jewelry store where the proceeds were donated to Cystic Fibrosis. Overall, I raised around $500 that was donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For four years, I lived internationally in China and Australia where I learned to appreciate other cultures, and immerse myself in different environments. As a result, I am very excited to be a part of IBIP, and I look forward to learning more about the world and how I can change it.
Class of 2022
My name is Ellie Carter and I’m a freshman at Ridgefield High School. I love to get involved in meaningful programs, both through school and through outside groups. Through school, I play soccer and golf, I’m an attorney on the Mock Trial team, and I’m on the debate team. Outside of school, I’m a member of BBYO, an international Jewish youth organization, with a position on the Ridgefield BBYO chapter board. In addition, I received the gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for doing 100+ hours of community service per year, with some of those hours coming from my National Charity League volunteering. Furthermore, I’m a mentor teacher for young children at the Religious School at my temple, I help coach the middle school debate program, and I assist in the elementary school orchestra program, which allows me to share my passion for the violin. Finally, I’m a Grand Honors student of the Johns Hopkins CTY program. I’m especially excited to add IBIP to my list of activities since I love helping out other people and learning more about other countries and cultures around the world.
Class of 2021
My name is Emily Christel. I live in Ridgefield, Connecticut and am a sophomore at Ridgefield High School. I am a highly motivated and dedicated student and am always pushing myself to achieve more academically. Outside of school, I enjoy playing volleyball year-round, which has helped me learn how to work cooperatively as a team. I am part of the volunteer organization Lions Heart, which I have been President and Vice President of. I am on the school’s Mock Trial team, which has challenged me to think critically. I participate in the Unified Volleyball Team, which is part of the Special Olympics, and volunteer at the local library every summer. I can speak fluent German and have been going to German School on the weekends my whole life. I am looking forward to working with my teammates on this amazing project!
Caroline “Callie” Whelan
Class of 2020
My name is Caroline “Callie” Whelan and I am a junior in high school from Ridgefield, Connecticut.
As a conscientious and motivated student, I am always up to the challenges offered by honors and AP courses.
I enjoy babysitting and tutoring elementary school students in all subjects, especially English, French, and mathematics.
I am an appointed member of the Ridgefield Youth Commission, which serves as an outlet for teens to discuss local issues with members of town government, business owners, and citizens. We support LGBTQ+, supervise Syrian refugee resettlement, and raise substance abuse awareness. Our latest project involves the creation of a town peace mural in response to anti-Semitic and racist graffiti in town.
In addition to my local involvement, I am a panelist and mentor for Ridgefield’s Ms. President US: a non-partisan, non-profit, community-based initiative that focuses on civic engagement and leadership skills for girls entering 4th through 8th grades. Through this program, girls learn about public speaking, diplomacy, listening skills, government, and women’s history. I’m ecstatic to develop the next generation of female leaders so that their confidence will ignite a torch of ambition in girls even younger!
I also enjoy serving local philanthropies through the Ridgefield chapter of National Charity League. NCL made it possible for me to receive the 2017 Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for over one hundred hours of community service from former President Barack Obama.
My passion to get involved stretches globally as well: I am co-President of the Ridgefield chapter of buildOn, an international organization that hosts afterschool programs for inner-city children in the United States and builds schools in seven countries. Last year, my team generated $69,714, thus exceeding fundraising goals by 232%. We lived in a rural Senegalese village and worked on the construction of a primary school for a week of July 2017. Our incredible experiences in Senegal inspired us to build another school in Haiti in June 2018.
I am honored and excited to transform lives across the globe as Project Leader for my team in the International Business Internship Program and as an intern for Leadership Initiatives!
Class of 2022
My name is Christopher Karle. I live in Ridgefield, Connecticut and will be graduating from Immaculate High School in 2022. I am passionate about health, wellness and sustainability, so I founded Head2Toe where we donate hand-knitted baby hats to hospitals and community centers to support the health of infants; made adult hats from recycled cloth to improve the wellness of the homeless through the Midnight Run Organization; and recycle gently used shoes to Soles4Souls to outfit people in poverty stricken areas both domestically and internationally. I received the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Student Leadership Award for my diplomacy, ability to work with others, willingness to take on challenges, and ability to honor commitments (2018). I am an active member of Lions Heart, a community service based group, where I have earned both the Bronze and Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award for 50 and 100+ hours of service respectively (2017, 2018). I have also been a Peer Mediator for 3 years. Athletically, I am a member of the GMS Rowing Club. Learning to row has taught me perseverance, hard-work and teamwork. I strive to use my knowledge and skills to work collaboratively with my team and our business partner. I am honored to work with the International Business Internship Program to help provide creative solutions to our Nigerian partners.
Class of 2021
My name is Matthew Sorgie and I am currently a sophomore at Ridgefield High School. For the past two years I have been the president of my class, allowing me to participate in leadership programs such as the Human Rights Institute at Iona College and the HOBY Leadership conference where I have been able to develop my leadership skills and raise awareness of human rights issues around the world. I was also involved in the Pockets of Hope group that raises money to give to local charity organizations and participated in food packing events to send meals to people in need. Aside from community service, I am also passionate in a variety of forms of visual art and have received a gold Scholastic Art and Writing award and best in show awards in exhibitions of my work that help raise awareness of violations of human rights across the globe. I have also been able to use my art to gain business experience as I took my work to social media and developed a following on youtube of over 17,000 and over 7,000 on instagram. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to use the skills I have learned to benefit others in need. With the IBIS team I am certain we can help bring a positive change to businesses around the world.
Mary “Mae” Whelan
Class of 2023
My name is Mary “Mae” Whelan and I am an eighth grader from Ridgefield, Connecticut.
I have a passion for basketball. I’ve played on my local travel team for several years and truly love it. The experience has taught me the invaluable skills of teamwork, patience, and perseverance!
I enjoy serving local philanthropies through the Ridgefield chapter of National Charity League alongside my mom and sister.
Baking, cooking, and drawing are some of my favorite pastimes.
I am so excited and honored to change lives through the International Internship Business Program!
Our Business Partner: Salon
Business Owner: Grace Adannu
Business Location: Wunti market, Bauchi State, Nigeria
Story of the Business
Grace is very excited and honored to partner with Leadership Initiatives and the International Business Internship Program. After over 10 years in the salon business, Grace hopes the amazing ideas from her International Business Internship Program (IBIP) teams will allow her to expand her business, yield a greater profit, employ more young women, and give back to her community for many more years to come.
About the Owner: Grace Adannu
After graduating from secondary school, Grace Adannu decided she wanted to make a difference in her community. Grace trained as a salon apprentice for three years to learn the basics of the trade. She traveled to Gombe, a neighboring state, to learn the logistics of running a small business as a salon worker. After she raised enough capital to support her own business, Grace opened up her own hair and beauty salon in Bauchi, Nigeria.
Thus far, Grace has trained 11 young women and hopes to train more. Her salon apprenticeships empower young women by creating opportunities to learn a valuable trade and achieving financial independence in their underdeveloped community. Grace is also a single mother of two children, whom she raised alone while also running her salon business. Her 26-year-old son studies Crime Management in the Bauchi Federal Polytechnic Institute and her 16-year-old daughter is finishing secondary school. Grace not only single-handedly funded her children’s education, but also provided an education for her younger sister, who is enrolled in the Federal Polytechnic Institute. Grace and her salon currently benefit over 34 people in her own and surrounding communities.