For as long as he can remember, Pierce College biology student Jacob Smith has always had an interest in giving back to the local community. When he learned of Pierce College’s service trip to the small community of Santa Julia, Nicaragua, he knew it would be the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I saw this trip as a chance to get my hands dirty and do something big, which really sparked my interest,” he said.
Smith is one of nine Pierce College students who spent part of their summer vacation volunteering in Nicaragua, repairing roadways, building a water reservoir, and planting coffee plants in the small village of Santa Julia. It was not uncommon for members of the group to walk more than 10 miles between home base and the various projects sites.
“We were working so hard, each day we were there,” Smith said. “The work we were doing took every bit of energy out of me, but it was so satisfying at the end of the day to know how hard we worked every day.”
Volunteers spent time with members of the community throughout the trip, and Smith played baseball every night with local youth. “It was just awesome to interact with the kids in this way,” he said. “We didn’t share the same language, but we could share this experience, and it was just so much fun.”
Cameron Cox, Director of Student Life, served as an advisor on the trip and ensured students were able to get to know each other before leaving for the trip. “My experience going through the Nicaragua trip and the people I’ve met have been really influential to me,” he said. “It made me want to give back even more.”
The experience encouraged him to apply for a student leadership position for next year, when he will serve as vice president of the Associated Students of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.
Story reprinted, with permission, from Pierce News website.