Lessons learned while volunteering
“Since I started volunteering at the Nuevo Paraíso Orphanage, I have a newfound appreciation for things I use to take for granted.” Sophia A. ’21. Sophia is a Junior at Country Day and has been volunteering at Nuevo Paraíso Orphanage near Tegucigalpa, Honduras for several years. Sophia’s volunteering began because her aunt, Carolina, is the director at Nuevo Paraíso Orphanage.
Nuevo Paraíso Orphanage started as transition homes for single mothers and as a safe place for them to come for support. Over time the site’s purpose changed and it began helping orphaned children. While the overall purpose transitioned from helping mothers in need to helping orphaned children, Nuevo Paraíso is still a safe and supportive place. Now Nuevo Paraíso offers each abandoned or orphaned child a ‘tia,’ a Honduras mother-like figure who houses them.
Sophia admits that when she went for the first time, she thought she was going to be the one to help. Reality struck and the kids helped her just as much as she helped them. Sophia walked away from her first experience stunned. The kids there had so little and yet, they always found happiness in everything. They used their creativity to improvise; they want to play soccer but had no proper soccer ball, they use an old can or bottle to kick around. The love and happiness shown by the kids changed Sophia’s perspective. It made her realize not to take things for granted. As a result of her experiences volunteering, Sophia strives to brighten other people’s lives, day in and day out.
This year Country Day was able to send a GATEway program to Nuevo Paraíso to volunteer. At Country Day we have our own International Studies program, or GATEway programs, which allows students to study and volunteer abroad. 34 Country Day students and 6 faculty members went on the “X-Term Fall into Service” program to Nuevo Paraíso Orphanage. The students and faculty members paved roads and lead camp activities for the children. The initial fundraising goal for the project was $3,000. However, in total $11,162 was raised! Thank you to everyone who helped make this project possible.
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