UWindsor Volunteers Return From Helping Communities In Latin America
Friday October 10th, 2014
Posted at 2:00pm
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This past summer was one full of travelling, meeting new people, and hard work through volunteerism for Windsor Students Offering Support volunteers.
These University of Windsor students funded their own travel and packed up their bags for two week periods on two separate occasions this summer to volunteer in communities in Latin America, with the purpose to provide educational facilities, clean water, and to improve the quality of life for those in various communities in Latin America.
In May 2014, the first outreach trip of the summer, volunteers travelled to Laguna Seca, a community in Nicaragua. During this trip, SOSers constructed a multi-grade classroom, sanitary services, water-running systems, and a play area at the community’s school. Laura Pineault, one of the volunteers on the Nicaragua trip, describes participating in this outreach trip as a “life-changing experience, defined by personal growth, lifelong friendships, and an everlasting impact on our SOS partnering community.” After 14 days of hard work and dedication, SOSers reached their goals and made new friendships with those in the community.
In August 2014, the second outreach trip of the summer, volunteers travelled to Cerro Blanco, Guatemala. On this trip, participants built a school classroom and two latrines for the community members in Cerro Blanco. Jillian Pizzo, Windsor SOS co-president and trip participant says that “knowing our group has created a space for these children to gain some sort of education and only having to worry about being a kid is what impacts me the most”. Not only were SOSers able to make a difference in the lives of the Guatemalans in Cerro Blanco, but the people of Cerro Blanco made an impact on the lives of SOSers themselves. Lauren Miceli describes the people of Cerro Blanco to be “remarkable people who accepted all 19 volunteers with open arms. They made sure we had everything we could have possibly needed. The community was so thankful and filled with so many kind and hard working individuals, which is what made the experience so fulfilling”.
While the SOS volunteers who participated on the outreach trips had the opportunity to made a difference within the actual community, this does not go without the hard work of just over 100 SOS volunteers on the University of Windsor campus. In order for an outreach trip to go through requires months of constant fundraising from exam-aid sessions and various campus events. In the 2013-2014 school year alone, Windsor SOS was able to raise $37,320.00 from exam-aid sessions. All of the University of Windsor Students involved in SOS have one end goal: to help those who need it. By working hard on the University of Windsor campus and abroad in Latin America, Windsor SOSers have fulfilled their mandate: raising marks, raising money, and raising roofs.