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Stories: Agents of Renewal - Jason Alfonse Fileta '05

I want people to know that they can make a difference—right now, that’s my work of renewal.

Jason Alfonse Fileta '05
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    Across the country, young people are unified and energized in their efforts to alleviate global poverty.

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The son of Egyptian immigrants to the United States, Jason Fileta grew up well acquainted with social justice issues. “My parents often prayed for the persecuted church, for those in need and those who were suffering from human rights abuses. As a kid, I assumed that’s how every family was. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I found out differently.”

After earning a bachelor of arts in sociology with a minor in international development, Jason now devotes his time to educating college students about a pressing social justice issue: global poverty. He works for the Christian Reformed Church and is the only full-time U.S. field worker for Micah Challenge USA, a global Christian campaign affiliated with the ONE Campaign, working to unite organizations in the effort to halve absolute global poverty by 2015.

Jason travels from campus to campus, speaking to groups and helping to organize events, teach-ins and educational campaigns that deepen students’ engagement with the global poor.

“My big passion is trying to help students realize that they can make a difference, which was something I never believed in before I went to college. What I heard at Calvin was that whether or not you think you’ll make a difference, you have a responsibility to try; and by the way, you will make a difference."

Though Jason was consistently engaged by his classes at Calvin, he didn’t initially participate in any organizations that focused on his interests. “I describe that phase of my life as learning about everything that I always wanted to learn about... but my junior year in Honduras—that’s the semester that really transformed me—that changed the course of my existence for the best.”

Upon his return from Calvin’s International Development Semester in Honduras, Jason spent the second half of his college career participating in organizations that build awareness of global justice issues. During his senior year, Jason was selected by the ONE Campaign to be a member of its 100-person worldwide delegation to attend meetings surrounding the G8 Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Now, Jason realizes that his work is just the tip of a much bigger movement. “After traveling around to so many colleges, meeting with students, praying and conversing with them, I realized that my generation wants to be the generation that finally deals with extreme poverty.... The idea is that we care, we’re convinced this is the right thing to do, we want to be a part of renewing God’s creation—let’s figure out how.”

Jason Alfonse Fileta '05
Field Organizer, Micah Challenge USA