No longer waiting on the world to change.
Hundreds of students formed two lines along the dusty pathway to the school and clapped as the students paraded through. Katherine and her classmates were nervous and felt undeserving of such an ovation. Yet when her van drove down that pathway for the last time, five days later, she did not want to leave. There was something special about that brief stay, something that led her to connect with complete strangers in unimaginable ways. Traveling to rural Cambodia with 11 schoolmates and a handful of teachers was no ordinary spring break. In the remote village of Pailin in Battanbang Province, Katherine shared a life-altering journey. She visited Cambodia with a purpose: to teach at her “Sister School,” to connect the isolated village to the rest of the world through electricity and Internet access, and to forge personal relationships with the students of Pailin. When she arrived at the five-room school, Katherine felt disoriented by the 14-hour travel experience on the uneven roads. She witnessed poverty, unrecognizable food, and giant bugs. Despite those sobering sights and the challenges of the language barrier, the five days that followed were happy and uplifting. The Cambodian students challenged her to think differently about herself and her country. She never imagined people with so few material possessions could be so happy, give so much, and always smile. The experience taught her about a different culture and challenged her to “pay it forward.”
Katherine’s trip to Cambodia taught her to examine the bigger picture and to believe that she can make a difference. She no longer “waits on the world to change,” but believes young people have the capacity to change the world. The change begins with a willingness to explore new and unfamiliar places, to learn from others in unexpected ways and, of course, to smile.
Transformation begins with you.