How did you get involved with Hand in Hand?
Going to Belize changed my life because it allowed me to gain a better understanding of what I wanted to do with my life. In college, I studied philosophy, taking classes that had a community service component. I found myself loving the work I was doing both in and out of the classroom but did not know how to translate this passion into a career until I found Hand in Hand. Going to Belize and building a home for such an incredible family helped me realize that I wanted to do this type of work full time. After going to Belize, I signed up to join AmeriCorps, where I could participate in community service work right here at home.
How did your trip to Auxier alter the course of your life?
I got involved with Hand in Hand through my nana, who has been a volunteer there since she moved to Kentucky roughly 15 years ago. When I would visit my grandparents, I would help volunteer at the local Louisville office with my nana. Growing up, I saw how dedicated my nana was to her service work, so when she got me in touch with Hand in Hand and they gave me this opportunity to go to Belize, I knew this was something I had to do.
What is your role now?
After completing my service with AmeriCorps, I am now working for the non-profit, Homes For Our Troops, where we build homes for severely injured veterans all across the country. The best advice I got from Hand in Hand when I was trying to transition into a career in the non-profit sector was to research service areas that you are passionate about and that is exactly what I did. I now get to travel the country, helping our nation’s most severely injured veterans rebuild their lives. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without Hand in Hand and my trip to Belize.
Advice to Someone who is Interested in a Trip:
When I signed up to go to Belize, I did not know anyone else going on the trip. I had met people from Hand in Hand briefly but did not know the other people who would be joining us. To say I was nervous would have been an understatement. I had not always been comfortable in settings where I did not know anyone else but I am so glad I went anyways. Even though we were only there for a week, my team and I got very close, as we were living and working together. If you are interested in going on the trip but not sure if you want to take the leap alone, I would say take the chance and step out of your comfort zone. Doing something like this independently was vital for my personal growth and part of what made this experience so great.