|December 03, 2012||Rachel Castellano on One Voice For Laos. Teen Bio #2||no comments|
|November 17, 2012||The One Voice For Laos Project!||no comments|
|November 17, 2012||Caleb Rudge on One Voice for Laos. Teen Bio #1||1 comments|
Rachel Castellano wrote the piece below about her experiences with One Voice for Laos and her reasons for being involved with One Voice for Laos. Rachel, the author of this heart-warming piece, is pictured here with Wanalee, an orphan from Laos......
I joined One Voice for Laos with the intention of doing what I could to help
children across the world. I had no idea I would actually travel there, and experience
something that would truly change my life.
What started out as a fun project with
my friends, turned into a huge part of my life that I'm incredibly passionate about.
It's hard to contemplate the amount of things I've learned from the
experiences I've had with One Voice for Laos. Not only was I able to travel to Asia
and immerse myself in an unfamiliar culture while making long-lasting connections
with the most amazing children I've ever met, I gained confidence and experience in
organizing and carrying out fundraisers back at home.
The other teenagers who I traveled with would agree that it was just as eye
opening to see the differences between the kids at the Deak Kum Pa orphanage and
us, as it was to see the similarities. They loved sports and hanging out with their
friends. I had conversations with them that could have easily been with an American
teenager. The part of them I will remember forever was how happy they were. They
smiled and laughed the same amount, if not more than American kids who have
their own room, good food, clean clothes, and the latest electronics.
I'm proud to say that I helped raise money for these children who I would say
I look up. By our fundraising efforts, they were able to obtain healthier and more
nutritious food. This project showed me that a small group of concerned citizens is
enough to make a difference. This gave me hope that although there is a lot of evil
and unfairness in the world, there are a lot of wonderful, capable people out there to
fix it. They just have to find the desire and will power to do so.
One Voice for Laos has impact. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the rippling effects move out in all directions. By bringing teenagers out of their comfort zone, One Voice For Laos kindles potential within teenagers that would otherwise be lost to society's effort to convince everyone that it's good to blend in.
While teenagers are being empowered, children over 10,000 miles away reap the rewards of additional resources provided by the teenagers of One Voice For Laos. In Laos I recognized that the influence our fundraising had much more value than the dollars themselves. A smile from a healthy child is worth million bucks.
Just as the growing bodies of the orphans are being nourished, the entire community of One Voice For Laos is cultivated through compassion and humanitarianism. A generation of Orphans is given opportunities otherwise unattainable and a small yet envigorated community in the rural catskill mountains recognizes that it is part of a global economy of fellowship.
I'm in college now and I'm still perplexed by the influence One Voice For Laos has had on me. The hope and direction instilled in me while being apart of such a generous project carries me through even the toughest moments. Anyone who looks at the cover of a newspaper these days knows that its not an easy planet to exist on. The commensalistic relationships we have often taken for granted seem to be dissolving into chaos. Any youth in America knows that he or she will have a harder time living the same lifestyle as his or her parents due to the increasing pressures on decreasing resources.
One Voice For Laos has given me conviction that each and every human being is capable of leading in positive ways. I also know that no matter what my future has in store for me, there is a community of people I can rely on to help pick me up when I fall and pat me on my back when I succeed. In One Voice For Laos I have confidence, for confidence is what One Voice For Laos has given me.