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    Last month, after school was out and most were looking for lazy days with seats by the pool, 18 Presentation Academy students and teachers decided to partake in a service trip to Costa Rica, working in collaboration with WaterStep to bring the opportunities of safe water to those in need.

    Presentation Academy girls have previously helped WaterStep with small projects here and there, but they were interested in taking it a step further, to immerse themselves in WaterStep’s mission: save lives with safe water. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all the girls and would forever change their perspectives on life and service within their communities as well as globally.

    “This trip encouraged me to follow my dream of traveling the world to help others in every way I can.  My experience affirmed that I want to pursue a degree in chemical engineering and use my career to give back by helping provide communities around the world one of the most basic needs in life—safe water.” -Emily Schroeder (Class of 2015)

    Not only did the girls work with WaterStep to set up water filtration systems in schools and to teach elementary students about health and hygiene, but they also partnered with two community vision centers to provide prescription glasses. They set up the water systems at La Escuela de Jardín de Niños and La Escuela de Juco. The impact that these students made on the children was immediate and gratifying; they were impacting lives one step at a time, hoping that the knowledge they had imparted would spread to others.

    “One of the most amazing moments of the trip came the day we taught about health and hygiene in the classrooms at the school in Cartago.  In one of the lessons, we taught about the importance of hand-washing and showed the kids hand-washing steps to be sure they cleaned all parts of their hands.  Later that day, a little girl proudly showed me and a few other girls she was washing her hands with the steps we just taught her.  It was that moment that I realized that we had made a difference, and the people we met had made a difference our lives as well.” – Kayla Curtsinger (Class of 2014)

    At the vision clinics, they served about 400 individuals, measuring eyesight with focometers, assigning prescription lenses and matching individuals with the proper glasses. The experience of giving the gift of a clear world was, indescribable.”

    The Presentation Academy volunteers also had the opportunity to experience the local foods, cities and culture. They visited the national church of Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles and La Paz Nature Reserve (rainforest preservation) and learned the Costa Rican “pura vida” attitude (“upbeat hospitality, genuine gratitude, and enjoyment of the simple pleasures of everyday life”).

    Upon reflection of their time in Costa Rica, the students had nothing but positive remarks:

    “My favorite part of the mission trip was getting to teach the school children about health and hygiene practices in their classrooms and then spend time playing with the same kids during recess.” –Kayla Hatfield (Class of 2017)

    “The look I saw on a child’s face when I gave them glasses and everything in their world became clear.  The feeling I got when I saw kids using the hand-washing steps I helped teach them the day before…the taste of Costa Rican coffee offered to us as a sign of the great gratitude for us being there to help their community.  These were all indescribable things I had never experienced before…you can’t change the world in one mission trip, but you can change one person’s world just as much as they will change your own.” – Emily Schroeder (Class of 2015)

    "The students and leadership from Presentation Academy arrived in Costa Rica with great servant hearts and presented themselves as if they were full time missionaries...they took all they had learned about the overwhelming water problems of the world combined with WaterStep technology and set to work applying that knowledge in two different schools.” –WaterStep

     

    To learn more about WaterStep and how you can become involved, visit their site.

    To learn more about Presentation Academy, visit their site.

     

    Photo Courtesy of Presentation Academy Correspondents

    Irena Tran's picture

    About Irena Tran

    I studied Art at UofL and now physical therapy at Bellarmine University. I love art, sports, and good food. I'm always looking for something new to try and new concepts to photograph!

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