Our Youth

*Digital Exclusive* Around the School Bell – Summer Edition: Fontbonne Hall Academy Students Answer the Call in The Dominican Republic to Serve, Learn and Listen

By Lauren O’ Keefe

When we first heard about the trip for the Dominican Republic, I was so excited. I went home and asked my parents if I can go and they said yes. I started counting down the days instantly.

When the trip started getting closer, my brother passed away. At first I didn’t think my parents would want me to go on the trip and I started second guessing it. But my parents actually thought that it would be a great for me to bond with my friends, learn new things about myself and a new country. I couldn’t wait to learn about the cities we were visiting and the culture of everyone there.

When we got to the airport, I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to be in the Dominican Republic. Three of my close friends, Kaylin, Caroline and Lindsay, were some of the girls that came on the trip.  While I was already close with them, I wasn’t so close with the other six girls, but I was excited to make new bonds with them.

When we were walking through one of the communities that Health Horizon International (HHI) works with, we learned that they did not have water for almost 20 years. They had to go to the river that was sometimes empty or filled with garbage. Despite those bad conditions that they were living with, every single person we saw when we were walking around said ‘holá’ to us and had a big smile on his or her face.

Each day we all learned what we were doing and what we anticipated to expect. Kaylin and I thought that when we went cliff diving, it was another leadership exercise and we could barely tell. Some of the girls were scared to jump off the cliff, so the people at the bottom and the top were cheering everyone on to encourage them to get over their fear.

I already know that if Fontbonne were to offer this trip again, I would go back in a heartbeat and encourage my friends to do it as well because it was life-changing and I am happy that I went.