Growing up my parents made it a priority to instill certain values in my siblings and I. My mother told us constantly to put others before ourselves. My father was always reminding us to do good work or no work at all which was never an option. Growing up I embodied these values and found deeper meaning along the way.
I remember doing service my whole life by following the example of my parents. I chose to continue doing service as an adult when I decided to attend Neumann University which was focused on service learning. In my freshman year I hit ground running with events and experiences. I traveled and completed service in so many different areas with so many different people. I worked on Indian Reservations, in cities, and helped rebuild fallen areas in need. I continued at Neumann planning service projects and deepening my love for outreach.
After college I ran into a personal crisis of not knowing how to give back to a new community and not knowing what was available. I was fortunate enough to run into an old friend with the same problem. After much planning and researching together we now provide services all over Delaware and Pennsylvania. We provide support to low income schools, work in soup kitchens, spend time in shelters, and do a lot of our work on the street side by side with people who need us.
This desire to serve has led me to following my dream of outreach in Kenya, Africa. I am taking my service learning to a new level by stepping outside of my American comfort zone. Through the organization International Volunteer HQ https://www.volunteerhq.org/ I have a trip planned for July, 2019. I will be living with a host family from the area for two weeks! I will experience life with NO electricity and a culture very different from mine! I will be working primarily with the children in the community. Most childcare centers host anywhere from 15 to 100 children at any one time. I will be assisting in daily operations, teaching English and Math, and will assist in daily feeding programs. Every moment I spend working in Kenya will help to shape the person I am, the people I help, and will hopefully inspire others to do similar work.
This is truly something I have wanted to do all of my life and I am proud that I am finally taking the plunge to make it happen. I am doing this trip solo and all funding is coming straight from my teacher salary, scary right? I have learned quickly that traveling abroad has many steps and requires so much planning and funding. From my application to background checks, to visas and flights, to vaccinations and travel insurance, the cost is up there. Any donations, advice, tips, and prayers are tremendously appreciated :)