On May 13, 2013 I left for Antigua, Guatemala for a service trip with a group of fellow North Dakota State University students. I have been anticipating this trip for so long, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally here!
My classmates and I are traveling to Guatemala to volunteer for an organization called GOD’S CHILD Project. Patrick Atkinson, a Bismarck, North Dakota native, founded GOD’S CHILD Project in 1991. It has grown from a single program in Guatemala to 12 distinct programs in five countries. As the website states, GOD’S CHILD Project (GCP) is an educational development organization dedicated to “breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation.”
While we are there, my classmates and I will be doing a variety of things including building houses, visiting the kids at the GCP school, clothing distributions, and visiting Casa Jackson, which is a hospital treating malnourished children. I am excited and humbled to be able to do all of these things.
It is amazing at how many aspects of a child’s life GCP is helping to improve- their education, physical health, and mental health. Many of these children have experienced things I can only imagine, and have suffered through abuse. There is a psychologist on staff at the GCP clinic to help counsel children, or anyone, needing help in dealing with past or present situations. As the GCP website reads, “By working through their problems, participants have a better chance of completing their education and effectively breaking out of poverty.”
I hope that I can witness this process and possibly help a child recover their mental health, even if I don’t know it! I hope I can bring a little joy to any suffering child’s day (I will have toys and candy in hand to help!).
Learn more about GOD’S CHILD Project on the website, http://www.godschild.org or by reading Patrick Atkinson’s biography “The Dream Maker” by Monica Hannan. We read this book prior to leaving and I highly recommend it!
I am looking forward to a week of service with my classmates and can’t wait to share my experience with everyone when I return.