LA News Archive
Seven LA Spartans traveled to the Dominican Republic to participate in volunteer work this June. Asia Winslow ’16, Jack Templeton ’16, Carter Hussey ’16, Evan Foster ’16, Grace Killian ’17, Kyla Floresca ’16, and Tatianna Suriel ’16 took part in service work for the Mariposa DR Foundation, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty.
For Jack, his three previous visits to the Dominican inspired him to return.
“I wanted to go this summer because of how good of an experience it was for me on Winterim, as well as last summer,” he says. “What appealed to me was the way this kind of work made me feel as a person: It made me feel as if I was doing a good thing, and it truly does make me happy to see the girls at the center because of how happy they are.”
While the experience was similar to the Dominican Service Project Winterim trip, it also had its differences.
“This time, we were a bit more independent in our responsibilities; my responsibility was to be the leader of one of the groups of younger girls,” Jack explains. “Evan, Asia, and I were group leaders, while Kyla and Carter ran the sports class, and Grace helped run the swimming class in the pool.”
Jack and his classmates worked with girls ages seven to 12; each day, they led the girls through swimming, math, sports, environment, health, and reading classes. After a selection of three classes in the morning, they would then tutor the girls who needed extra help with reading, writing, or math after lunch.
“We would tutor them in fun ways, such as playing blackjack or counting games with candy or fruit,” Jack recalls. “The most challenging part of the trip was probably getting some of the younger girls to pay attention during the hour of tutoring each day, because of how tired we were and because the girls just wanted to play after having four classes.
“We were originally each assigned a girl to tutor, but we ended up tutoring them together because it was easier to teach them in small groups instead of by themselves,” he adds. “They were more willing to play the games we planned for them if they were with their other friends.”
Jack is planning to continue his volunteer work in the future, and he hopes to get more people involved as well.
“I found that it makes me very happy to bring happiness to these kids’ lives through service. I definitely want to go back sometime in the future to volunteer at the foundation,” he reflects. “I also think that by having these experiences, I have discovered that I may want to look into this field as a possible career path, because of how much I love doing work like this involving working and teaching with young kids.
“I believe that this trip, as well as the Winterim trip, are things that everyone should go on and be exposed to because of how eye-opening and fulfilling of an experience they are,” he continues. “I think it is [important] because of how it changes a person’s perspective on life for the better.”