Farther Foundation recently received the news that the first member of our inaugural alumni class (2010) has been accepted to college. Not only will Diamond be heading off to University of Wisconsin – Madison in the fall, but she was awarded a Posse Foundation Scholarship. The Posse scholarship is a full four-year scholarship that offers the best and brightest urban high school students the opportunity to excel at top-tier colleges and universities.
In 2009, Diamond was awarded a Farther Foundation scholarship to travel to Costa Rica on a one-month service program with Putney Travel. Here is an excerpt from the essay Diamond submitted to Farther Foundation after her experience abroad:
When I stayed in Costa Rica for a month, I lived in a small three room house with eighteen other people. We all slept and sheltered ourselves from the rain there, but most of our time was spent outside. An average day consisted of waking up, working on a community project, and spending the rest of the day however we chose. No one went home and watched television, or talked on their cell phones, or used a computer because none of that was accessible. Instead everyone spent their time outside enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Because of this lifestyle that exalted the simple things, I think about my life and community differently now.
The townspeople in Costa Rica were the most simple-living, friendliest people I’d ever met, and the town itself had an undeniably positive energy about it. This was possibly because everyone knew each other and they spent their time together, playing soccer or talking at the town store. Or maybe, it was because the people there lived so simply that they didn’t have trivial things to waste their time on, like electronics. Either way, I was taken by how I managed to cope with such a simple lifestyle and enjoy every moment of it. This led me to think; if the people in Costa Rica can live so simply and be the most happy and free people I know, then why can’t we? Why must we squander our precious moments in life on trivial things instead of spending quality time with each other? Why is it that there, everyone knows everyone else in their town but here we don’t even know all the neighbors on our own block? The answers never seem to come to me, but I personally have grown so much from witnessing such a remarkable lifestyle. I don’t need a cell phone, or television, or computer to make my day, I count on the people I surround myself with daily to do it for me. After living without these material things for a month I came to the realization that many of our “necessities” we have aren’t always that necessary.
Ultimately through this enlightening experience I learned what no book in the world could ever teach me. It’s the simple things in life, which we tend to forget, that truly make us happy. My outlook on life has been altered tremendously, and I now understand the difference between the things we want in life and the things we truly need. The less time we spend indulging ourselves in useless activities, the more time we have to spend with each other. If we took the time to enjoy the simple things in life, then I truly believe we would be happier with life, and more importantly with ourselves.
Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.