Last month, four DSA students and alumni traveled to Arequipa, Peru for a week. This wasn’t an end-of-the-summer trip or a fun girls’ weekend away. Instead, these high school girls went to Peru as volunteers. Since all four girls are bilingual in Spanish and English, they??served as translators for organizations who send food, supplies, and support to other countries.
American nonprofits and organizations gather money, food, and supplies to give to those in need, however, they are often in need of help delivering supplies. Rather than just drop off the supplies, sponsors and organizational leaders hope to make connections with the people who receive them. It’s impossible to do that when there is a language barrier.
The Divine Savior students on this mission trip were able to translate for the sponsors giving the supplies and donations. By doing so, the sponsors were able to build important relationships and connect with??more people along the way.
“The girls did an excellent job of handling any situation they encountered, even if it was a sensitive issue. I was so impressed by the way they connected with everyone they met. Participating in this act of service was a powerful experience for them. I know they grew not just in their worldview, but also on a spiritual level as they participated in this mission trip. They came away with a greater appreciation of the blessings they have, as well as the knowledge of what it feels like to serve others,” commented trip leader Erika Biesterfeld, DSA’s International Program Coordinator.
Last summer, the school took eight students to the island of Antigua to clean-up a school, assist teachers with classroom preparation, and help a blind man rebuild his home, which had burned down. The school takes its high school students on one mission trip per summer, and students must apply to participate in this experience.??
Mission trips aren’t the only way that service is encouraged on Divine Savior’s campus. The Academy requires all students to have a certain number of volunteer hours in order to graduate. Students can earn these hours in a variety of ways, both on and off campus. Whether it’s helping new students acclimate to a new school or starting their own nonprofit, students are encouraged to give back to those near and far. Last year, the students and families of DSA??gathered food for the Doral Police Department’s annual food drive, gathered supplies for the earthquake in Ecuador, and also gave a mission offering to an orphanage in Haiti.??
In the end, students learn to serve and the blessings of service, often coming up with ideas on their own. Past students have been the ones to start a school supply drive (when they noticed that so many school supplies go in the garbage at the end of the school year) and even a nonprofit organization that gathered crayons from local restaurants and other schools to send to orphanages.
Pastor Carlos Leyrer, President of Divine Savior, comments, “Our love for others??springs from our love for Jesus and all that he has done for us. It’s a joy to see our students and their families serving together!”
Divine Savior Academy is a Christian academy dedicated to excellence. With campuses in Doral and Delray Beach, the school is part of one of the largest private school systems in the country and has over 165 years of educational experience. Divine Savior serves students in preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school with college-prep academics in a Christian environment. To schedule a private tour,??visit DivineSaviorAcademy.com.??