Making a difference, Peru

What does it mean to make a difference? It could simply mean making someone smile or laugh, or even participating in a school function.  My own definition of making a difference is putting others before myself by making a small or big change in their life. It doesn’t have to be something drastic because we all can’t be a superhero to the entire world, but we can be a superhero to one person.

Marilin and I at the Festival we had for the community!
Marilin and I at the Festival we had for the community!

Has anyone ever heard the term pay it forward? If not, well you’re in luck – check out this movie trailer for the film “Pay It Forward.”

To pay it forward means you help someone out simply out of kindness, not out of attention. After you help them, you tell them to pay it forward to someone else. You can help someone out in school, reach out to someone in your class who is going through a hard time, help someone make the right choice, etc.

The purpose behind the phrase pay it forward is for a chain reaction to occur to make small differences into a big difference.

This may not make sense, sometimes I don’t even get it, but a year ago I was incredibly blessed to go on a class mission trip to Lima, Peru. This past week my fellow classmates, at Notre Dame Academy, made the trip again, but unfortunately I couldn’t go. This trip was where I learned the true meaning behind making a difference.

This time last year I was in Peru, a place where they speak Spanish and we speak English, on a mission trip. Going into it I was super nervous not knowing what to expect, but I came out of it a changed person.

On this mission trip we painted and reconstructed buildings for a community that needed help. We remodeled the library in their school, and so many more things. That wasn’t what struck me the most, though, on this trip.

What struck me was the bond formed between my class and the community in Peru. I became best friends with a little girl named Marilin, who I still keep in touch with today. Just in case you all were wondering, I don’t speak Spanish, only Hola! I am what you could consider hopeless in learning Spanish, but that didn’t stop me and Marilin from becoming best friends.

The community in Peru thought my class changed their lives, but little did they know that they changed ours. It was awesome seeing the smiles and gratitude they showed toward us. Honestly, I have never felt so loved in my life.

Fortunately, I saw that my classmates, who just got home from this trip, were changed as well. Facebook, twitter, and instagram exploded with pictures of their trip.

At Hanover I hope to get involved in organizations that reach out to others. It doesn’t have to occupy all my time, but I would like to take a couple hours out of my week to do some service, and hopefully others will, too. It’s not easy going outside of your comfort zone, but in the end it’s all worth it!

I want to end this post with the song, “If Everyone Cared,”by Nickelback.

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