After returning home and finishing up the fall semester of class, our intern Jamee has taken some time to reflect on her experience with SuperKids earlier in November.
“Working with SuperKids changed my outlook on life. I have found it difficult to try and explain to others what that week in Jamaica has meant to me. The children fill your heart with love, hope, inspiration, and much more. The feeling of little hands reaching out to hold yours, braid your hair, give you high-fives is uplifting and encouraging. The smallest gestures go farther than imaginable in a place where love and friendship are the heartbeat of the schools in Jamaica. Traveling with Great Shape! Inc. gave me a new perspective on what I have in my life and what is truly important.
Not only did the children of Mount Airy make an impact on my life, but the courageous volunteers that accompanied me did as well. I made great friends with volunteers from both the United States and from the beautiful island of Jamaica, friends that I know I will see again in future trips with Great Shape! Saying goodbye to everyone proved to be harder than I could have imagined after one short week. The environment of Great Shape! fosters these relationships and allows them to form quickly with great depth.
I also received the unique opportunity of observing my parents in a completely different light. I am proud of my parents for stepping out of their comfort zones and not thinking twice about joining me on this adventure on such late notice. Seeing them blossom in Jamaica provided me with a fantastic opportunity to view my parents in a unique situation. In addition to watching my parents thrive, I got the chance to shine in front of them. I am proud of myself and leadership abilities I demonstrated while in Jamaica.
A roller coaster of emotions, the week also presented me with challenges. Moments of frustration and exhaustion combined to create feelings of being overwhelmed. The leaders of Great Shape! know that these feelings are common for volunteers as the week progress. They provided us with tools and processes to step back and handle the situations with ease. Collaborative communication and daily debriefs were valuable tools in helping refocus and relax. I am very grateful for the orientation at the beginning of the week when the leaders taught us these tools.
When I signed up to join SuperKids in Jamaica, I had no idea what to expect. Now, after seeing first-hand the difference Great Shape! Inc. makes in the lives of thousands in Jamaica and the lives of the volunteers, I am definitely planning on returning next year. My parents are eagerly awaiting the 2015 registration and I am hopeful that I will be able to sign up as well! I love Great Shape!, the children of Jamaica, and all of the people I am blessed to have been able to experience this with!”
Does this sound like an experience you would like to have? Learn more about Great Shape! Inc. and our numerous projects on our website. Registration opens in a couple of months, we hope to see you there!