Farther Foundation provides opportunities for economically disadvantaged high school students from the Chicago area to travel worldwide and interact with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. They participate in programs where they are immersed in new cultures and experiences, learn and develop skills, provide service, cultivate leadership potential and attain personal growth.
In Farther Foundation’s first program year, sixteen eager and deserving students had life changing experiences on five continents with Farther Foundation scholarships. Upon their return, students wrote essays about their experiences. Each had a unique and inspiring experience — and each described it in their own way. Prizes were awarded to the students who submitted the top four essays.
Here are excerpts from the top four essays:
Anna, a senior at Marist High School, spent three weeks in Peru where she hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. Anna described her journey in dramatic terms, “Together, we traversed the green tangles and reached – what seemed to me– the top of the world. Every day was memory-rich; every day was a miracle.”
Maritza, a senior at Proviso Math & Science Academy, went to Rome, Italy for six weeks where she studied Italian and lived with a host family. Maritza’s self-confidence grew with every challenge she overcame and she relishes her new international friendships, “I am so grateful that I got such a loving and accepting [host] family. I don’t think they will ever know how much they taught me or what I have learned from this experience. Going on this trip was the best thing I have ever done.”
David, a senior at St. Ignatius High School, spent a month living, learning and developing a great passion for justice and the people of El Salvador. David wrote, “As a [citizen of the] United States, I am privileged because I can speak for those facing death threats. Therefore I plan to spread awareness and do more than just tell my friends at lunch. I have to make injustice public. This is justice. It is more than treating everyone equal; it is fighting for others and fighting those who are not just.”
Elizabeth, a senior at St. Benedicts High School, lived in Vietnam for a month with a host family, worked with children and volunteered on a community building project. Elizabeth learned to communicate and appreciated the similarities between family and community life in Vietnam and back home in Chicago, “The best thing to do when you’re bored is tell jokes. On our daily breaks we would pull out our translation books and tell jokes. There were many times when I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. As we told jokes, we taught them English and they taught us Vietnamese.”
Farther Foundation founder and director David Weindling said, “These experiences have such a great impact on students’ self-confidence and aspirations. It is a joy to read their reflections.”
Farther Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported by tax deductible donations. To support Farther Foundation and to see more photos and stories from these and other students, visit its website at www.fartherfoundation.org.