Heart Matters

The power of personal connection is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to International Oasis.

Brian Petty, International Oasis’ Events Coordinator, is an example of what it means to pour into an organization you believe in.

As I got ready to sit down with Petty, you could tell he was an individual who goes all-in for a mission he believes in. This became evident immediately as he began sharing his heart for the students he serves through International Oasis.

“What made me want to get involved was the mission of the foundation. To provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to Oakland University international students in order to inspire and equip them to meet the needs of the global poor.”

When I asked him what drew him to the international community, Petty revealed that his mother was from South Korea and had moved to America in search of opportunities much like international students.

“I think about all the people who have provided her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. How if others did not, my mom, my family, myself… we would not be where we are today. Through International Oasis, I am able to give back to those who give to myself and my family.”

At the heart of it all is a desire to continue to give, according to Petty. Through the help others had given to his mother when they were in need, Petty’s life has been radically changed. Now, years later, he is an integral part of the International Oasis volunteer team. For the last year, Petty has been the events coordinator, giving him the opportunity to engage with international students in creative and fun outings where they get a taste of American culture.

For Petty, though, it’s more than just being able to create fun events. It offers him a sense of belonging and joy. Growing up in Detroit, Petty often felt like the minority and through International Oasis, he can relate to those who feel there is a social or racial barrier. Others are able to feel safe and wanted, and the friendships created are unparalleled, according to Petty.

For more information on how you can volunteer with International Oasis, visit the volunteer page on their website.

Written by Lauren Jurczyszyn

Heart Matters