Thursday, September 17, 2015

Volunteer Reflections: Ariana

Greetings, Starfish supporters! This summer we are especially excited to share the reflections of our current cohort of Starfish interns, who are supporting us in our social media and fundraising projects. Today's post comes from Ariana, who is a member of our Summer 2015 Social Media Team. She co-created the first ever Starfish podcast!

A month ago, I was riding in the front seat of my dad’s truck heading to the equestrian center and looking out the windowing thinking about how it was going to be an outstanding day. It was the day that I had been looking forward to since I graduated pre-k, because it was my high school graduation day. The 45 minute car ride seemed to take hours. The hour wait to walk in side by side my fellow classmates seemed to take days. But, when I was finally on the stage, the minutes, hours, days, even years of anticipation would not have prepared me for the rush of emotion nor realization that was about to hit. 

For 13 years I went to school challenging myself to learn something new everyday (because if you aren’t going to learn anything, why go?). Each morning I’d get up with my sister and we’d talk to each other, laugh, eat breakfast and then grab our lunch and head down to the bus. 13 years of the same morning routine boiled down to one day of importance.

As I looked out over my 400 or so classmates, I thought back to all the lessons we learned and friends I made and thought, man, this is going to be a good life. Then it hit me. Yes, its going to be good life because I know most of those people, because my two best friends were sitting out in the crowd, because the group of people before me are going to do something to change the world. But, after graduation, I am only going to talk to about 7 or 8 of them. No, the reason it is going to be a good life for me is because I have something that I truly treasure and that will help me in the future, that’s my education. You see, in the crowd of the students where the teachers. They lined the sides of the rows looking at our smiling faces with both prideful smiles and tear filled eyes and I couldn’t help but thank them silently for the hard work they put in it. Education is a privilege, and sadly, it’s not one that everyone has.

 I started volunteering at The Starfish Foundation by being a pen pal. Through that, I got to know a wonderful girl in educator who had huge aspirations for her future and was so excited to be going to school. “I chose to go to school because it helps me learn simple things that will help my future and help my family” was one of the very first things she told me and it was a humbling experience. Here in the USA we go to school because we have to. In Ecuador, they go to school cause they want to. The value of education, in some of our minds, is equal to dirt. But, the value of education in their minds is equal to gold, and it is rewarding to know.

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