“It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Earlier this spring, Catherine spent a week at Safe Passage as part of a Support Team. When she returned home, she was eager to share her story and spread the word about the life changing experience she had.
Read her story and watch her video below.
Hey everyone! My name is Catherine Carpenter, and I’m a junior at Falmouth High School. For a week this February, I had the privilege of working on a Support Team at Safe Passage, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
My younger brother was adopted in 2005 from Guatemala, so the country has always been close to my heart and a place I’ve wanted to visit (note: Guatemalan international adoption closed in 2008.) Starting freshman year, I got really into volunteering with the help of Jen and Holly, our service learning coordinators. They do an amazing job of inspiring and teaching kids about the power of giving back, and I quickly got hooked.
Every year, my school does a Safe Passage trip with 10 students and 3 chaperones. For me personally, the only part of the trip that was as good as the Camino Seguro children and Guatemala was my Support Team. From the moment we had to sprint through the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in Texas, it was a new family. We had the crazy aunts, the super chill cousins, the loud and unfiltered little siblings. But, it was Safe Passage that really tied us together.
One thing I’ll never forget is walking in the first day after visiting the garbage dump, and seeing all the big smiles of a 1st grade class, ready to learn and share love. That’s one thing I treasure most about the children – the unwavering love they possess. To be able to grab a total strangers hand and hug them, I’ve never been in a such a safe environment. Even in math – which even in Guatemala is nobodies favorite subject – they were totally content and willing to learn.
Sure, staying in Antigua was beautiful, but seeing the big, black eyes and smiles of the children made the whole trip.
Being a part of a Support Team is a bonding experience. Deep connections are made, both with your team and with the children you’re serving. Many Support Team members return from their trips and want to continue to helping the children. This includes sponsoring a child and participating in outreach as Ambassadors.