Poverty is a difficult subject. It's difficult to see because it's so shocking. And it is a sensitive subject, saturated with emotion. Yet, when we think of poverty we often think of people in a lesser materialistic situation. And although that may true, I've noticed that most people living in extreme poverty are surprisingly happy. They have the love of friends and family which is really all what you need to have a good, happy life.
The idea of giving people in poverty things such as shoes, clothes, money, etc has never really resonated with me. It's a good intentioin but it doesn't do anything to improve the quality of life of the recipients. That's why I work for Foundation Escalera because they work to make education possible for children in poverty. An education empowers students, it endows opportunity and it changes lives for generations. It's much more effective than just giving clothing or other things. A girl that goes to school, and graduates, is more likely to make better decisions and be better able to care for children. And she is far more likely to invest in her own children's education because she knows the value of going to school. Building a school in a village is drastically different than giving out pairs of shoes. It actually lifts people out of poverty. Education is a ticket out of poverty.
Students at Lone Peak High School raised nearly $40,000 to build a middle school for students in Chojolhó, Mexico--a village of only 300 people. They lived with the villagers for three days and their experienced was unparalleled. The students smiled, played and worked with the villagers. I had the opprtunity to document this inspring trip. I was touched to see the connections and frienshipd made between the Lone Peakers and the villagers. I've gone on these expeditions several times, and every time I am moved by what people can do for each other. There's a real, tangible power at work when helping others. The best part of this trip is knowing that kids in Chojolhó are going to have a bright future because they now have a middle school.