Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Personal Notes (Julie)

I just got back from my third time taking a group of students from my school on a service trip. My first year we went to the Philippines, but then the next year we changed to a relatively unknown, small island called Saipan.

It's always quiet the experience to take a group of students on a week long trip. Oh the stories!! But the greatest thing to me is watching them step out of their comfort zones and do things they would never normally do otherwise.

One particular story is volunteering at the Salvation Army's Soup Kitchen two days. This was new for us this year, and when we arrived, we found the place was a bit small with only three tables set up. Normally, one man runs the whole lunch meal with maybe one or two people helping out here and there. Now he had nine student all wanting to help out. The problem was they all wanted to either serve the food or give out cans to people as they left. That made for two crowded areas but no one to talk to the people. The other chaperone and I gently urged them to be brave and go sit and chat with the locals. Listen to their stories.

When we finished and drove away, it did my heart good to hear my students chatter on about what interesting conversations they had and how much they enjoyed talking to the locals and the many connections they found. For example, some of the locals could actually speak Japanese (many of my students are Japanese) and one lady use to work in mainland Japan before coming to Saipan. I met several ladies who were from the Philippines, so I got to chat about my time there and hear their stories of how they came to Saipan.
The students never would have shared their attention and time if they hadn't taken that first step (with a slight helping push) out of their comfort zones.

It's so easy to stay in places that are comfortable and familiar, but like this trip, wonderful experiences can happen if only if you take that first step. As one student shared, it gets easier after that first time.
Forbidden Island (my favorite view)


  1. Reading this makes me smile. What an amazing and heartwarming experience getting to know others while serving them and learning the value of reaching beyond our self-imposed boundaries. Would have loved to have you for a teacher.

  2. Thanks so much for this peek into your trip, Julie. Your students are leaning a valuable lesson.

  3. This sounds like such an amazing trip - what a cool experience for your students! Thanks for sharing, Julie!


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