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Taking the Summer a Step Further

posted Mar 25, 2011, 6:52 PM by Golden Knight

Posted on September 13, 2010

By Jefferson Patrick Nolan

When asked to describe the summer of 2010, senior class president Paolo Veneracion boldly put it as “The Summer of Adventures.”  The summer is the time for us to have fun, let loose, and enjoy the sun. But in Paolo’s case, he wanted to do more. 

            In Mr. Barrero’s Spanish 3 class during his junior year, Paolo was waiting with everyone else for the bell to ring for break. Having some time left on the clock, Mr. Barrero decided to show the class a clip from the show 60 Minutes entitled “The Lost Children of Haiti.” The documentary told of an organization called The Global Orphans Project that made trips to Haiti to help impoverished, sick, and hungry Haitian children.

            Paolo made a few calls, sent a few e-mails, and before he knew it, he was getting ready to go on a plane with 15 people to visit Haiti. The team carried donations and pledges with them on the flight.

            When Paolo got there with his new friends, they saw and experienced things that were truly eye-opening. The mission of the group was to treat and take care of the orphans with American donations and medical supplies.

            When asked if one person impacted him most, Paolo described a 17 year old boy named Joseph who helped him and the volunteers take care of the children. Both of his parents died in the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit on the 12th of January, 2010. “He was a little kid himself,” said Paolo. He seemed to epitomize what the group’s trip was all about.

            They were not on vacation, they were not looking for any service hours, and college attention was not the priority. When Paolo stepped off the plane, there was a goal to help others and to take it a step further. Yes, colleges love it when they see a student building a church in Africa or going to a third world country to help those in need. But they love it not when a student wants their approval but when a student sincerely wants to be of assistance for the sake of helping others. “[We] wanted to do it. That’s what made the made it so great,” said Paolo.

            When kids ask each other what they did during the summer, most tell tales of great times at the beach or parties or amazing vacations. But when Paolo is asked what he did, he can honestly say this: “I looked out for other people. I made a difference. That’s what it’s all about.”

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