In the midst of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Michael Demidenko was born in Russia, 1989. Looking for greener pastures, he and his family relocated to the United States in the mid 90s. Planted in the Pacific Northwest, Michael and his family worked hard to flourish in their new found home.
“I grew up in a non-English speaking family, translating since I was eight. I started doing roofing work with my dad at 12, so I could afford new school clothes and money to play sports”.
With a passion for education, knowledge and learning, Michael studied psychology and conflict resolution in college, and is now in the process of PhD applications. After undergoing brain surgery and returning to health, Michael is eager to start a career.
“I am passionate about adding my handful of sand to the massive beach of knowledge. I want to expand on the giants that have walked before me, to enrich the opportunities of all people. I believe knowledge is powerful and beautiful.”
He gained a sense of adventure mostly from his dad, and the fact that he was an avid sportsman - snowboarding, hiking, and playing soccer, basketball and football.
Michael’s passion for learning and his hardworking attitude isn’t short of inspiring, yet he doesn’t think so.
“Born into a stoic Russian family, criticism is #1. Compliments are not something I do well with. My wife told me to work on it, so I’m working on it. Ask me again in 2 years.”
Maybe he doesn’t see in himself what he sees in other people:
“Inspiring people are those who sacrifice at a healthy dose to better the lives of others.”
Overcoming fear is something he’s accustomed to, but Michael believes that counting your blessings and acknowledging your privileges are key to getting around fear.
“After flirting with death on numerous occasions and no longer having a pituitary, it’s become a little easier to ignore that fear response.”
Believe it or not, a failed surfing trip on the Oregon Coast is Michael’s favourite outdoor adventure. Faced with the danger of jagged rocks and rough coastline, he and his wife managed to make it out alive.
“We had scrapes, bruises and two buckled surfboards, but we came out in one piece. Although the adventure was drenched in danger, it was a fine character building experience. Knowing we were able to hurdle the challenge spoke to our ability to work as a team… which I saw as a measurement for future success in adventures.”
Michael wishes to extend his passion for helping others into the THISWORLDEXISTS team. Excited to add his contribution to education outcomes overseas, Michael is keen to assist THISWORLDEXISTS into a flourishing organisation.
“I have always been interested in community engagement and expanding the resources in indigent populations. I have kept to a life goal of helping as many people as I can.”
To Michael, making a difference doesn’t have to be a big ask. Rather:
“It can be as small as picking up some trash in your neighborhood or sharing a smile and positive attitude with people during your day-to-day. Whatever someone can do to spread joy, positivity and well-being in someone else’s life is making a difference”.
See more of Michael's adventures on Instagram: @michael_goesoutside
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