Students to Teach and Volunteer In Honduras Over Spring Break
Fifteen students have traveled to Honduras for a Spring Break community service internship, dividing their time between teaching English and volunteering at a school in Cofradia, an underprivileged, rural area of the country.
Athenaeum fellow Nick Zosel-Johnson ’07, who spent last summer in Honduras working with BECA (Bilingual Education in Central America) through a McKenna International grant, said the experience was so profound, that returning to help was a priority. “Being integrated into the community,” he says, “I learned so much more on that trip than if I had lived with other students. I left with a warm feeling, having met some of the nicest people that I know.”
Zosel-Johnson introduced the idea of returning to Honduras to the Kravis Leadership Institute and to SOURCE, the Student Outreach Utilizing Resources and Community Exchange. “While most CMC students take the opportunity to study abroad, many do not visit developing countries, and if they do, they do not stay in poor, rural areas, ” he says. “I thought this would be a great way to bring that opportunity to CMC students.”
In Honduras, the group will spend the first part of the day with teachers and students, and dedicate the second half to building a bathroom and painting the school.
CMCers handled most of the event planning, including fundraising and the student-selection process. With more than 80 interested applicants, the latter proved the most challenging aspect of the trip, says student leader Carey Tan ’07. Organizers eventually focused on those classmates with broad ranges of travel experiences and language abilities. “It was a wonderful surprise to find that so many students were interested in giving up their spring breaks to take advantage of this great learning opportunity,” says Tan, who updates and maintains BECA’s website (www.becaschools.org).
Francesca Ioffreda ’10, who works with Kravis and SOURCE, was instrumental as a coordinator for the home-stay and social tourism aspects of the trip. “My family is from Honduras,” she says, “but I have never been there. I can’t wait to see my country of origin.”
The trip is co-sponsored by The Kravis Leadership Institute, ASCMC, and the Office of the President.
Emily Meinhardt ’10