Lauren Mazzola, a senior at Stonehill College, participated in her first H.O.P.E trip to Nicaragua last spring and will be returning to Nicaragua this May as a H.O.P.E. leader. Lauren described the type of service she participated in in Nicaragua; “We went into the major elementary school in the community and taught English classes to the children. We were there for two days and decided to teach them the different parts of the body in English. For the remainder of the week, we worked with a family to build them a new house from the ground up. We worked in solidarity with the family, side by side, to accomplish building them a new and sustainable home.”
Lauren embodied the pillars of H.O.P.E. on her trip to Nicaragua that she now incorporates into her everyday life. Lauren reflected on her trip; “I was able to learn and experience social justice issues of poverty and sustainability while understanding the ideals of solidarity and working with your neighbor to accomplish a set goal together. We walked side by side with fellow Nicaraguans in order to make an impact on their daily lives; however, we didn’t try to walk in their shoes since we are not able to truly understand their situations.”
When asked what she will take away from her first H.O.P.E. trip, Lauren responded, “I honestly can’t speak enough about how this experience completely impacted my life. It changed my views on society as a whole. Yet, most importantly I learned that as much as you want to serve those in communities such as Chacraseca, Nicaragua, you receive back so much more than you could ever hope to give. After experiencing such love and togetherness, you understand this bond that we all share, that will now stay with you for the rest of your life.”
Lauren is excited to return to Nicaragua in May upon graduation and encourages all Stonehill students to take part in H.O.P.E. trips.
Written by Kasey Lynn Berardi ’14