“My community needs mentors and people to steer the young children in the right direction. They need to know there is more than West Philadelphia”, Patience Elliott, Junior at SLAB
“I now see that there are kind and selfless people out in the world that will be there for you when you need them”, Eliza Meketon, Junior at SLAB
“Traveling to another country with a group of students was not only a dream to our students but a dream of mine as well. I have traveled to many countries but traveling with students proved to be the ultimate life-changing experience. This was the first of many more life-changing trips to come for SLAB,” Señorita Melissa Moran, teacher and student activities coordinator.
Nine days in the small town of Turrialba Costa Rica, living with Tico families, the students of SLA @ Beeber felt the love as they immersed themselves in a trip that changed their (global) perspective forever. From community service to hikes and adventure, SLAB took on all challenges with grace, smiles, and careful thought. At the beginning of the trip, after forty plus minutes of hiking and a two hour whitewater trip, students not only saw the beauty (and dangers) of the tropics, they became a team reflective of how life’s obstacles become moments of profound understanding. Errion looked out over the mighty Pacuare River as she zipped through the canopy and for a split second, she was present to the magnificence of the forest and the rush of PURA VIDA (pure life).
The community service project of rehabbing a crumbling playground culminated in a community picnic where even the in-coming mayor of Turrialba came to recognize SLAB’s contribution to this tiny corner of the world. The second youngest mayor in Turrialba’s history and part of the Citizens Action Party, Luis Fernando Alvarado spoke to the importance of citizens taking action, getting involved and noticed how SLAB’s actions excited the community to do more. The side by side immersion went deep. Students, in the midst of the scavenger hunt walking through town and asking locals questions in the best Spanish they could muster, commented on the hospitality, friendliness, and willingness of Ticos to be patient, and guide us (literally take us) to each location. This generosity and the homestay families ultimately changed each student’s perspective. What was hospitality morphed into genuine love. What was patience showed itself as caring, a kind of caring that students desperately wanted to bring home.
The palpable change that each student experienced was exponential because these students were “ready, willing and able.” Hearts and minds open, deep reflection and present moment awareness, brought them profound clarity as to what it means to be a global citizen and how they fit into the equation that, no matter how one adds it up, equals ONE.
“They’re such critical thinkers ready to apply the knowledge they are taking in on this trip and take action,” Molly, owner and operator of CRE, notices.