Students travel around the world to do service

Service trips range from Costa Rica to Guatemala to Appalachia.

Service trips range from Costa Rica to Guatemala to Appalachia.

Caroline Jacobs, Feature Editor

“If a student has the opportunity to travel and they incorporate service into that, they are going to have a richer experience themselves and they’ll learn so much more about the community that they’re visiting,” ETHS Community Service Coordinator Mary Collins says.

     Over the past nine years, Collins has learned a lot about the different service trips that are offered to teens over the summer. She doesn’t like to recommend one specific program over another, but she believes all of the programs offered can provide an enriching experience for the students who partake in them.

     One of the most popular trips for ETHS students is the Appalachian Service Project. Over the course of a week, participants are put into teams to repair houses in Central Appalachia, one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the country.

     “Being to able to help the families is the most important part, but also with the people on the trip, you build a super family-strong community that helps you throughout high school,” Eberhart says.

     Another trip that is offered in partnership with the school is the Global Visionaries program. This year, ETHS sent 20 students to Guatemala to become immersed in the culture while working on a few projects to benefit the community.

     In addition to doing service on the trip, this is a homestay program, so students live with a native Guatemalan family and become completely immersed in the culture and what it means to live like a Guatemalan teenager.

     On her trip, junior Sofi Boczkowski became especially close with the mother in the family she stayed with.

      “She would cook everything from scratch. I would wake up and every day there would be tamales and beans and there would be pancakes and cut fruit,” says Boczkowski, “She would ask me all sorts of questions about what it was like to live here and we would talk about their culture and what it was like for them growing up.” says Boczkowski.

    Lipman traveled to the Dominican Republic through an organization called Rustic Pathways. Her and other students from around the country repaired houses along with running a camp for the Dominican children.

“I chose this program because all the service we did was based on the community’s needs instead of us coming there and choosing what they need,” says Lipman.

On these trips they learned to be contributing members of a community and they will bring those values back to Evanston with them.