Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Summer Service

Across the pond and from coast to coast, Judge students have left their mark all over the world this summer. While on Summer vacation, Judge students demonstrated their Christian values by soaking up the sun in communities all across the map while participating in service projects to benefit those in need. Service is in the foundation of Judge Memorial Catholic High School, and as every student completes Christian service hours during the school year, of the many students who rose to the challenge and chose to spend their Summers helping to serve others both domestically and internationally, two seniors stood out in the shining service oriented efforts. Emily Burchett and Kelly Hanlon traveled to Kiamuri, Kenya with YouthLinc, a local service agency; connected with Rotary International, with their motto being "Creating lifetime humanitarians." This was surely achieved, after completing over 260 service hours in Kenya Alone, not to mention the 100 hours of Service completed domestically, and the individual philanthropic efforts of both girls.

Emily and Kelly were just a part of the group's thirty members that were hand selected to travel to Kenya. Much preparation went into the planning of this trip. After being broken up into groups and being assigned different committees, like Education, fund raising, heath/medical, fun fair, and micro finance, the planning begun. Once the group arrived in Kenya, there were no limitations as to how they could assist the children. "I taught emotions to primary school students (k-4) and geography to primary and secondary (k-12). I also helped teach women's maturation classes, as well as build classrooms for primary and secondary schools." States Burchett. In addition to the work Emily participated in, Hanlon also aided the village by Giving loans to those who wished to start a small business, with the source of funding being deriving from the money the group members in America, and teaching a vocational training class to teenage girls.

The lessons that these girls taught the children of the village were invaluable in comparison to what Emily and Kelly gained from this experience. After seeing the slums that so many people lived in and the hardships that they had to face every day, it greatly effected the girls view of the world. " I had prepared for the trip all year, I knew I was going into a poverish country, but no matter how long you prepare for it, the shock is still so prevalent when you walk down the jet way off the plane." states Kelly when describing her feeling towards the living conditions of the villagers. As unfortunate as seeing these dreadful sights was, it served as a source of motivation for the two bulldogs. "Knowing that you put your whole heart and soul into something, and seeing how much you can get done, and how many lives you can touch is the best reward i could ever ask for. I am only 17 years old and I have traveled to another continent to change peoples lives. What makes it all worth it is knowing I put a smile on someones face." Kelly proudly proclaims.

After two weeks in the village, changing hundreds of lives, and making countless amounts of memories, the girls returned home, bringing much with them. This trip was only the beginning for these two young humanitarians. Philanthropic work in nothing new for Kelly Hanlon. "I hope to continue changing lives and leaving my hand print on the world. After this experience I have the courage to do anything. All it takes is a little hard work, dedication, sincerity and the will to achieve."

Emily, who channeled her altruistic spirit in the hopes of one day establishing herself as a humanitarian. Hoping to continue to apply her passion for traveling an being immersed in foreign cultures, to work with organizations that will help her grow as an individual, as well as establish a basis for the service organization that she hopes to one day create and run. Upon explaining why she enjoys service Emily states, "Life should be about simply being kind to others, not worrying so much about material goods, but instead the human connections we make."

So look out world, these bulldogs are taking the reigns and starting young. With a combination of passion and perseverance, Kelly Hanlon and Emily Burchett are sure to change the world.

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