High Schooler on How Trip to Haiti Changed Her Life

 In Partner Schools, Partners Program, Quality Schools Program

October 19, 2010

The following essay is by Bridget Johnston, a senior at Vero Beach High School, who went on a trip to Haiti a few months ago. She wrote it as part of a scholarship application and we’re grateful she’s letting us share it with you. It’s exciting to us to see people helping to make a positive difference for Haiti…and also to see that Haiti makes a positive difference in their own lives.

Essay by Bridget Johnston:

My goals in life are two-fold: I intend to combine my love of music with my passion for volunteer work.  While these two goals may seem difficult to reconcile, I know from prior experience that these two goals are harmonious.   When it comes to music, I want to be the cello girl.  I want to be the one to call when there is a need for a musician for anything from a jazz club gig to soloing with a symphony orchestra…

Ever since I first heard the sound of a cello, I was hooked… Now, not only am I still taking lessons, but I am also giving them, and that’s where I have found the common ground that allows me to combine my love of music with my passion for volunteer work… I’ve found that teaching and sharing the gift of music has become an increasingly integral part of my everyday life.

While I could discuss the benefits of having a musical education for several more pages, it is also my firm belief that every child deserves an equal opportunity to a basic academic education. That is why I went into action and continue to be in action to help improve the educational opportunities in Haiti. After the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, rather than texting ten dollars to the Red Cross, I knew that I could make more of an impact myself. My experiences with Haiti – raising over $2,000 at a benefit charity concert; buying, packing and shipping 15,000 pounds of medical supplies; and then physically going to Haiti to put the supplies in the hands of orphans –  led me to a non-profit organization, Haiti Partners, that would change my life forever.

Working together with this inspirational group and my high school, I am collaborating on an effort to re-establish…the [Darbonne Community School, a partner school of Haiti Partners that] will provide children in that area with the opportunity to obtain a quality education that will exponentially increase their potential for becoming successful leaders in their country. Furthermore, the school will be an essential community center, being equipped with a water purifier, Internet access and solar power. Raising money for this program, along with promoting education and healthcare in Haiti, has become an enriching experience that I plan to continue for the rest of my life.  I am sharing my love of music with these students by working on a project with the Haiti Partners’ Youth Choir (Wozo)…

This is an example of how I blend my love of music and my passion for volunteering now and how I plan to live my life in the future.

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