Professor “Nick” (called by his students, his actual name is Nemanja Nikitovic) to be honored by the President of the United States of America as a recipient of the “President’s Lifetime Achievement Award” for his 22 years of dedicated community service.
The purpose of this award is to honor those who have continually poured out thousands of hours of volunteer service in this country. Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed upon Nick for his 22 years of volunteer services. He has continually fed the poor, guided students who are struggling, offered counseling and guidance to hundreds of students.
According to Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan, President of the Whitehouse Rotary and the Past Rotary District Governor, “He has been an inspiration to many, and we would like to celebrate the positive impact he has made in bettering our communities and the world together.”Dr. Tulsi R. Maharjan
Nick grew up in a small town in Serbia where people were always willing to help neighbors and friends in need. He was involved in a Youth movement during the Serbian civil war in early 1998 that encouraged him to work with his college buddies to help and give back. After graduating from the high school in Serbia, the Civil war forced him to migrate to America. Nick knew he needed to get higher education. He ended up in Clinton New Jersey and that was a great cultural shock for him.
Nick’s childhood experiences with volunteering and working with youth group gave him inspiration to join the international club at a local community college where he started his English learning classes to improve his livelihood.
Regardless of his workload, his personal life and other obligations, Nick took time to join the club and try to help those who needed help. Now some of his students have graduated from local universities and working in high level positions including an engineer at the Boeing company.
He was 2nd President of the Rotaract club at the Raritan Valley Community College in 2002. He volunteered as a mentor through the Rotaract club to help other students from many different countries.
Even on weeks when he is working 70+ hours, Nick took time to mentor his students and explore New Jersey and beyond together. His students are still in constant contact with him.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO VOLUNTEER?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a household where I was well supported and encouraged to chase after the dreams and goals, I had set for myself. I hope that through my volunteer experiences I can provide these same experiences for the youth in the community in whichever way they may need.
DESCRIBE YOUR ROTARACT ADVISOR ROLE.
My early training as a Rotaract officer and attending many Rotaract conferences prepared me to take this role as an advisor at the college. Soon after joining the college in 2001, I met Dr. Tulsi Maharjan, who guided me along the way. I am thankful for his guidance and care. When I came back to teach after receiving my master’s degree and started working at the College where I started my life, I instantly, wanted to help those who needed help. I knew it was something I wanted to do and passionate about. Because, I got started with the Rotaract.
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR WORK with Rotaract?
My experience with Rotaract has been rewarding to know I’ve made a difference in my Rotaract members’ life. He has expressed that the program is welcoming change for him, not only to learn about new students, but also as a space where he can forget about the stressors in his life and enjoy the company of other students from around the world and knowing that I have been able to help others that for him is very rewarding experience.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH YOUR EXPERIENCES AS A VOLUNTEER?
Through my 10 years of experiences with Rotaract, I’ve developed leadership and relationship skills. I’ve grown as a person by working with students from around the world. What’s so wonderful is that I also learn being able to share their life experiences with me, which helps me broaden my perspectives and become a more compassionate person.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PARTNERSHIPS, PROGRAMS OR EVENTS THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?
As my students prepares to finish community College and start Universities experience, I’m excited to stay in touch through their transition and provide any guidance they may need. I plan on being there for them even though they are not around. With the help of internet and zoom, we are in touch with them to get their progress report and it is heartwarming to know that they are succeeding in their plans.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO VOLUNTEER?
I think it is important for others to get involved because you never know how much the actions you take can influence others in the community. Volunteering is such a rewarding experience; you can meet new people, and oftentimes you learn and grow through the process as well.
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM YOUR STORY?
I hope people recognize all the benefits that come from volunteering with Rotary and Rotaract.
Involving in Rotaract and Rotary has been a great experience for me, I have met people from around the globe and I hope this encourages anyone who has been interested to take that step to get involved!