Find out how this CB junior is changing the world one summer at a time. While many of us spent our summer vacation hanging out by the pool, Christian Brothers junior Isabella Granucci (’15) immersed herself in a new culture in order to help those in need. For two months Isabella stayed in a rural […]
Find out how this CB junior is changing the world one summer at a time.
While many of us spent our summer vacation hanging out by the pool, Christian Brothers junior Isabella Granucci (’15) immersed herself in a new culture in order to help those in need.
For two months Isabella stayed in a rural Costa Rican community of 106 people, performing various acts of service through an organization called Amigos de las Americas. Without friends or family by her side, she created a youth group within her community and led a variety of projects aimed at improving her new home.
Isabella has always yearned to volunteer abroad and was inspired by another CB student who previously took part in the organization.
“I wanted to do something to help those who aren’t as fortunate as I [am],” the CB junior remarked. And when the opportunity came up for Isabella to travel to a beautiful country to volunteer, she just couldn’t resist.
Though she had to leave her friends and family behind as she embarked on her two month journey abroad, Isabella found that the small town of Santa Lucia was her home away from home. While on her immersion experience, she stayed with a humble host family who gladly took her under their wing.
“They just took me in as their own,” explains Isabella to the Talon. “My [host] siblings treated me as their sister and my [host] mom treated me as her daughter.”
But plopping oneself into a foreign country doesn’t come without its challenges. Even though Isabella completed two whole years of high school Spanish before going on her trip, she still struggled with the language barrier at first.
“It was a lot of hand gestures in the beginning,” Isabella jokingly admits. “I could probably beat anyone at charades.”
With minimal Spanish to help her out, the biggest part of her two month service journey was forming a youth group with the children there and doing whatever it was they needed done to better their community.
Fortunately for Isabella, she did not have to take on this task alone. Within her community there was one other volunteer as well as a supervisor, who would come to check on her and her partner once a week.
For three of her six weeks abroad, Isabella and her partner helped to put in a new cement floor in the community’s meeting room, plant trees and build benches around their soccer field, and build much needed stairs from their school to their soccer field. For the other three weeks, Isabella worked in Costa Rica’s national parks clearing trails.
“[It was] really special to see the impact I’ve made on these people,” the dedicated volunteer remarked.
As Isabella explains to the Talon, making this big of an impact on the lives of others involves lots of hard work and preparation.
“I trained all year for it,” she stated. For 12 months she attended meetings within the Sacramento-Davis chapter of the organization, learning health and safety procedures, essential leadership skills, and how to deal with culture shock.
After a year of training and two months of intense service work, Isabella returned home with an experience of a lifetime.
“It was life changing,” Isabella admits. “Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it was really rewarding.”
Even though most of us may not get the opportunity to volunteer abroad, we can all aspire to be like our fellow Falcon Isabella and help those in need, whether it is at home or elsewhere in the world.