I am just back from my second trip to Guatemala, and am feeling more committed than ever to weaving volunteerism and service into corporate America's culture. There are so many in need, and I believe that as in all real relationships, the benefits are mutual -- we receive as much or more than we give.
This year, it wasn't just "my" trip. I traveled to Antigua, one of Guatemala's poorest regions, with a group of 11 others, all of whom not only volunteered but also made donations (along with a number of others via Paypal!). Together these donations will send 25 of the brightest, most promising children to school and pay for food and health care. Thank you to the Livecchi Family, the Lim Family, Gold, Jordan, and everyone who donated online!Media entrepreneur Joe Livecchi wrote a trip diary and shared the story of a moment that I think is a strong metaphor for the entire experience. After spraining his ankle and having to sit out some of the day's fun activities, he wrote:
One of the boys I had talked to earlier came over to check on me. He offers me a piece of the candy he retrieved from the piñata to try and ease my pain... That's when it hit me. I had flown thousands of miles to help these kids and I was the one being comforted by an eight-year-old child who has almost nothing.
Again, we get more than we give. In fellow traveler Max Lyons' words, "The transformational impact we're seeking to have in the lives of these children is being returned to me just as much, if not more so."Joe's daughter, Sophie, age 12, wrote her own blog. My favorite line from it:
I suddenly just figured out this whole new world of poverty. Nobody on the other side realizes this world. If everyone could get the experience that I got to come here... The other half would be more grateful, and this half could get more help.
As I wrote on the blog, I went intending to fund 10 children. I finished the trip with a total of 41 names. Together, between my donations, those of everyone on the trip, plus Paypal, we now have enough money to support 25. That means we're looking for donations to support 16 more. For $200, these kids can go to school and have their basic needs paid for. I mean it when I say no donation is too small.
If you're interested in reading all the blogs from this year's trip, here are the links together:
Max Lyons: The Transformational Impact of Service
If you can contribute, it would mean the world to these kids. Even the smallest donation can make a huge difference in their lives.