Theo’s Summer Service in Peru

This summer, I had the privilege and pleasure of traveling to Peru with a group called GLA. (Global Leadership Adventures). At GLA, the main goal is to provide a summer trip where teens can help others that are less fortunate in service projects which they feel passionate about. This summer, I helped a family on the outskirts of Cuzco, Peru in this little town called Chocco. Here, over the course of two weeks, I helped the family build a full house for their guinea pig or cuyo. Over these two weeks, I had some of the best experiences of my life. I met so many new people and developed relationships with the families I helped. A normal day of service looked like the following: Every morning we woke up at 6:30 am, starting service at 7:15 or 7:30. We then worked carrying adobe bricks and making mud for the foundation of the house. Making this house was very important because guinea pigs are most families only source of protein from a food source that is cheap enough to produce at a fast rate. During our service hours each day, we would have a mid-day break, where we got to play with little kids at a school nearby. We had daily soccer games, singalongs, rap battles, and played on the swings. After this, we went back to service for a few more hours of group work.

During my time in Chocco, how I view the world was totally reversed and changed. From the point I visited Peru, my view of my surroundings were clouded by the privilege I had automatically received since birth. These privileges are simple things such as water, food, clothes, a roof over my head and an education. When I left Peru, I became much more aware of how I could help people individually and make a difference just by the small things I did with my group.

 

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YPI Reflection Theodora Pappas

This year being a ninth grader at Friends, I had the pleasure in participating in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. My group and I chose a orginization called the Joyful Heart Foundation and focused In on domestic violence and sexual assault in the U.S and NYC. In the beggining, I was very uninformed on how many people were regularly affected by domestic abuse, but the statistics were very overwhelming. For my YPI, my group did two site visits to our foundation to learn more about how they helped our general community. Something that is very special about the YPI project is how much of it is student driven. Students choose what they are interested about and work from there with a group to collaborate. Here, I think my skills on social networking and working together with a person or organization outside of school really grew. Something that I constantly struggled with in the beggining was contacting my orginization. Here, whether it meant emailing, calling or meeting these new strangers, it was sometimes difficult to make that first step. Even though my group struggled with this at first, we ended up really enjoying YPI and the project we had formed. Because of YPI, now we have a really strong connection with an organization we all feel confident about.