On April 30, the eighth graders of will follow an eight-year tradition rooted in working for the community by heading to Mexico.
Accompanied by Principal Sharon Harris and Vice Principal Troy Martin, the students will embark on a daylong trip by plane and bus, across the border where they will get a proactive experience in selflessness.
Students Alexa Guzman, Reann Pineda and Rachel Torres, all 13, and Cole Kawata, Ryan De Los Santos, Corey Yamamoto and Kelsey Waugaman, all 14, are just seven of the 16 students going on this journey. In what they consider the shortest of weeks, the students spend their days bonding with children during soccer matches and doing small, but necessary jobs around the facility.
Soccer is “a highlight for the kids” said Martin.
But the students are excited about the entire journey.
“We’re from a really small school," said Yamamoto, who will be going on the trip for the first time. "We're also just kids and that shows that even kids can make a difference."
Door of Faith Orphanage, located in La Mision, Baja California, Mexico, is home to approximately 100 children from disadvantaged families, ranging from infancy to adolescents. Local parents often must choose between making a living or keeping their family together. Founded by Curtis and Sylvia Freeze back in 1959, the orphanage has given the value of education a new priority in this town.
As trip organizer, Martin said students are prepared both mentally and emotionally by taking Spanish courses as well as being partnered with younger Green Valley Students in what the school calls "prayer buddies." The students actively raise money for their trip by selling hot cocoa and various fundraisers. They also tirelessly fundraise for a sizable donation to bring to the orphanage.
“This trip has helped me to realize that I may not be able to change the world,” said De Los Santos who, along with Torres, is making their second and third trip on the journey. "But I can change a world”
Kara Waugaman, one of the many parents going on the trip, agreed that the week will have a humbling effect, while allowing her daughter, Kelsey, to grow as a christian and a person.
In addition to room and board, the orphanage provides a full education, including vocational schooling and resources for college. Despite all that it offers, Martin said, donations and volunteers have dwindled for the orphanage in recent years.
Though this trip has been inspired by Green Valley Christian Church’s numerous years of involvement with the organization, this trip clearly goes beyond religion.
“The center of Christianity is love your neighbor, society works when you’re loving your neighbor, when your focused on someone else,” said Martin. “We’re doing that in baby steps. [Teaching] how you can be a human being in this way.”
For more information on the Door of Faith Orphanage, visit www.dofo.org. For information on local donation acceptance or group volunteering for the orphanage, contact Green Valley Church at (831) 728-1424.