As a freshman in high school my goal in life had not yet been set. I was like most other people my age, aimlessly wandering through life with not so much as a clue as to what I wanted to do. Upon returning from my trip to Puerto Rico with Crossing Thresholds, however, I discovered that what I wanted to do was help people. I talked to numerous people about their experiences working in underprivileged countries on service trips and truly loved the concept of being able to make an impact. The people I spoke with were seasoned and qualified, and helped to make the trip more enjoyable.
Working with a native muralist, my group painted a large mural at an elementary school, in addition to giving their blacktop more flair by adding things for the kids to do, including a maze, hopscotch, a soccer field, and a basketball court. We also built benches, desks, and a cornhole game for the children. It was wonderful getting to see the teachers and principal’s faces when they saw the work we had done. They were filled with joy for the kids and quite grateful. Getting to see their reaction really had an impact on me. No matter the size of the contribution, you are making a difference in people’s lives.
Throughout the trip, Crossing Thresholds introduced us to native Puerto Ricans, who taught us about their beloved homeland. Meeting people from PR gave us a chance to see the issues within the island (e.g. government), the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria, and the history of Puerto Rico. These are important things to discuss especially since people like us, volunteering and making an effort, can make such a difference in building up Puerto Rico again. I truly enjoyed the trip and shall hold it close to my heart forever.
Puerto Rico, June 2021