Vanessa – Fiji Community Service Trip

Over the summer, I went on a trip with Travel for Teens and volunteered at Ratu Meli Memorial Elementary School in Northern Fiji on Nacula Island. At the elementary school, we built a trash incinerator for the school to dispose of their trash. We also were able to spend time with the students at the school to help them practice their English as well as improve communication skills. I felt like this trip was an enlightening experience. Fiji is often misconceived as a vacationland filled with resorts. Traveling to Fiji, I learned that Fiji is a third world country and was surprised to see the amount of poverty many people face.

YPI Reflection

How might you remain engaged with your social issue or non-profit organization?

I am going to keep donating clothes to the clothing drive this week and am going to continue to get interested parties to get involved with the program. I will also continue to spread GEMS’s mission and do whatever I can to help the girls.

In what ways has your attitude toward your social issue changed over the course of the project?

I never imagined to the extent these girls were hurt. I’ve heard stories of sex trafficking but never really heard the details. My attitude changed towards my social issue because as I heard of what these girls face every day I wanted people to know that stuff like this is happening, and is happening to people our age. I wish for people to have conversations about the topic so that we might be the generation that eradicates the sex trafficking industry.

Rory’s Experience with Catholic Charities

When I began working on my YPI presentation, I knew almost nothing about the hardships immigrants face, especially after they come to the US. After visiting Catholic Charities, interviewing the director of Catholic Charities’ New York Immigrant & Refugee Division, Mario Russell, and seeing the amazing work done there, I saw who was affected by the charity firsthand.

I found the YPI project extremely helpful as my world history class worked through the curriculum this year. We have been learning about the immigration and migration of different cultures since the first humans migrated thousands of years ago. By meeting new immigrants at Catholic Charities, I was able to better perceive the material my history class covered.