Volunteering

  • To the left of my bed is my most prized possession: a collection of pictures, each representing a place explored and a lesson learned. My love for travel stemmed from a young curiosity towards adventure and discovery; I loved how as I learned about a place's culture and history I also learned about...

  • Pulling apart a roof is not as simple as it sounds. As I pried the warped and rotting shingles away from a house damaged by Katrina, I felt a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that I had never experienced in my life. There I was in the birthplace of jazz, working with Youth Rebuilding New...

  • When people think about visiting DC, they create an impressionist painting characterized by swirling shades of patriotism: dashes of museums crowded with artifacts, towering monuments, and ribbons of ethnic restaurants mingling with office spaces. This is the big picture. This is what we put on...

  • If someone had asked me a year ago, "Where will you find utter devastation alongside genuine joy?" I'd have tapped out and asked for a new riddle. And I know for a fact that the last place that would've crossed my mind would've been Southern Mississippi. The place that I was about to embark on a...

  • While my family loves to travel, we haven’t often gone out of the country. The last time I used my passport was when I went to the Dominican Republic. Now, the DR is known for its beaches and resorts, but I didn’t get to see much of either. You see, I traveled to the Dominican with an organization...

  • As I boarded the plane to be carried across the sea I was strangely calm. I was at peace. I was surprised by this, for this would be my first mission trip overseas and yet all that I felt in that moment can be explained best by the lyrics that were pulsating through my brain, “It is well, It is...

  • To say life in Nicaragua drastically changed me would be an understatement. As a resident of an affluent area in San Jose, California, I have lived in a sheltered bubble for my entire life. A lot of risks that I wished to take were objected to by my parents and peers. Living in the heart of Silicon...

  • High in the Andes Mountains, three flights and a four-hour bus ride away, is my second home, Cuenca, Ecuador, where a piece of my heart will always be. QUARTER-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP On August 5th I set out with Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY) for Ecuador. There...

  • During the summer before my freshman year in high school, I went on a mission trip with my mom, bother, and a few members of my church to Panajachel, Guatemala. We traveled down there to help an organization called Mission Guatemala. Since 2009, Mission Guatemala has been helping the locals in...

  • June 16th, 2015, the day my life changed forever.  My mom tried to hide the tears in her eyes as she told me how proud I make her.  It was the last time I would see my mom and sister again until August 27, 2015.  In front of our apartment was the government car and standing beside it, two soldiers...

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