Hey everyone! Check out this awesome blog post from current volunteer Mike Varner…

“When my best friend Cindy approached me about traveling to Jamaica with Great Shape! Inc. I said, “What? Go where?” Four years later, here I am, planning yet another trip to the beautiful country of Jamaica. I couldn’t say no once I found out what Great Shape! has to offer.

Once I decided to go, I got my passport and spent a long time saving up for the trip. The day that I departed I was very nervous and didn’t know quite what to expect. As soon as I arrived, I was stunned by the heat and the people. I have done volunteer work for the City of Spokane, so I was fine with talking in front of people and teaching others new skills, but in Jamaica with Great Shape! I was working with people from other states and other countries. Still, it didn’t take long to get used to the new atmosphere and, after my first day, I felt very comfortable. During the trip, I met some wonderful people and made many lasting friends. After that, I was hooked. The next year I approached Cindy eagerly, saying, “When do we go? What are the dates?”

I also attended the Ashland Fun-Raiser the year after my first trip. If you can’t go to Jamaica you absolutely must go to the Fun-Raiser because either way you are helping the Jamaicans.

This year, I am going to Jamaica for two weeks with Great Shape! Inc. During the first week I will work in a clinic with a wonderful team of dental professionals as part of the 1000 Smiles project. Then, during the second week, I will join the SuperKids project in the schools helping to educate children in a number of different subjects. The children in the schools accept you as if you were one of them. The staff and people in the communities remember you – not just your face, but your name.

I am proud to be a veteran of Great Shape! Inc. To you – the reader – you need to come to Jamaica. A trip with Great Shape! is something that you will talk about over and over. It makes your heart soar to know that you can make a difference. Even though the difference may be a small one, the rewards carry on forever.”

-Mike Varner, Spokane WA