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Meet the J-1 Volunteers Behind the New York City Marathon

Posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 at 9:37 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the Exchange Visitor Program

Two girls pour water from gallon jugs into paper cups for marathon runners

Moira Cacia and Angela Mininni (J-1 au pairs from Italy) we‘re very excited to see so many Italians running the race and happy to cheer them on.

On Sunday, November 6, more than 1,000 J-1 international exchange visitors – students, interns, au pairs, and research scholars – volunteered at rest and water stops along the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon course, supporting the 50,000 runners from over 135 countries who ran the race. Meet some of the volunteers and read about their experiences:

Girl in green parka hold out a paper cup of water to marathon runners passing by

Maike Wellmann hands water to individuals running at the NYC Marathon


Maike Wellmann – J-1 intern from Germany

“Thank you for giving me the chance to participate in such a huge event like the New York City Marathon. It was the perfect day with lots of impressions and insight! To do good with absolutely no effort at all is in any case worth the experience. To put a smile on people’s faces and to wish them good luck is a small gesture with a great impact. The smile we put on the faces of strangers during yesterday’s marathon should also be given to any person you meet on the street. This has inspired me very much, and I will now try to integrate it into my everyday life.”

Young man hands water to passing marathon runner

Pablo Marino hands water to a runner at mile #6 located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY

Pablo Marino – J-1 from Spain

“I was excited to participate in the New York City Marathon because I volunteered for the Dublin Marathon last year – which is also very famous – and had a great time. This race was different because there were so many people from all over the world. I like volunteering because it makes you feel good. What we are doing might now seem important, but we are making it possible for this event to happen. The most exciting part of this experience is I came out to support my cousin and was actually able to hand him a cup of water to help him continue to run the race.“

Young blond woman holds a sign reading "Meeting people from all over the world"

Amalia tells us what she enjoyed most about volunteering at the NYC Marathon.

Amalia Nordaas – J-1 Intern from Sweden

“I decided to volunteer because it is such a big event in the U.S., and it is so much fun. I learned that volunteering is a great experience and also a great responsibility. It is a wonderful way to meet new people while helping others. Others should volunteer at this huge New York event so that they can meet people from all around the world and experience how great it is to be a part of it.“

Young woman in green parka pouring yellow sports drink from pitcher into paper cups

Yessica pours Gatorade for runners

Yessica Martinez Peniche – J-1 au pair from Mexico

“I liked that the runners were so thankful. I was speechless when the runners would look at me and say thank you. I wasn’t expecting that. It doesn’t matter that I started working at 6:00 a.m. I am still full of energy.“

Three young volunteers in green parkas hold out cups to passing marathon runners

J1 Volunteers Pablo Marino (Spain), Ramona Zauner (Germany) and Raphaela Nebauer (Germany) (left to right)

Raphaela Nebauer – J-1 intern from Germany

“Participating in the marathon was beyond anything I could image. I am so motivated to try to run the race next year. I’ve never seen so many people running!“

Ramona Zauner – J-1 intern from Germany

“It makes you want to run the marathon yourself.“

To see additional comments and photos related to the marathon, check out the #RouteJ1 hashtag on Twitter.

Categories: Program Spotlight

About G. Kevin Saba

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

G. Kevin Saba

G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.

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