Volunteer work in Costa Rica changes perspective
August 20, 2013, 7:00 pm by Alexandria Randolph
A Burnet High School graduate hopes that her experience volunteering in Costa Rica will encourage others in the community to travel.
Merecia Lewis, 21, spent six weeks this summer volunteering
at a free day care in Costa Rica. A Burnet High School graduate in the class of
2010, Lewis is a senior at University of Texas in Austin and plans to graduate
in May 2014. As a Spanish major, Lewis was required to complete an internship
using the language, but decided instead to put her linguistic interests to use
through a volunteer program called International Volunteer HQ.
"Last August I decided I was ready to go (volunteer), Lewis said. "I did research and found an organization.
During her work with International Volunteer HQ, Lewis chose a program destination and was assigned to volunteer at a daycare in Costa Rica with limited personal expense.
"The daycare was a place for the kids to go when their
parents were at work. They take any kid that shows up. There were between 10 to
40 kids every day, she said. "The volunteers were there to provide structure
and to help the older kids with their English.
Lewis spent four hours a day for six weeks volunteering at
"They spent between 12 and 14 hours a day at the daycare. We
would feed them, change them (diapers) and dress them, she said.
Lewis said that she has a lot of experience
with children through her upbringing in Burnet as well as her work at Jump!
Gymnastics in Austin. She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Austin
Pets Alive! and Heart Health, a program for underprivileged youth in Austin.
Her experiences still didnt prepare her for the cultural differences, the
young woman said.
For the full story, see Wednesday's Burnet Bulletin
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