A group of inspired teens joined Faze last summer on a trip to the Dominican Republic. Instead of tanning-it-up at an indulgent resort, they enriched their lives by helping others through a humanitarian relief project, Hero Holiday. After a week of building homes for Haitian refugees, cleaning dump sites, and bringing food to locals, they had a lot to reflect on.
Kaelyn, 16, Qualicum Beach, B.C. After digging in the mud in the villages and seeing what little people live on and survive with (yet they are so joyful), you can’t look at your life the same. It truly is life-changing. Not only for you, but also for those you go there to serve.
Kyle, 17, Etobicoke, Ont. This was a life-changing experience. I know everyone says that they’ll never be the same after they have experienced something out of their comfort zone, but what Hero Holiday has done is beyond that. This trip has not only showed me what a third world country looks like, but for seven days, I became a part of it. I provided help to those who do not have the basic necessities of life, and through that, I left the Dominican Republic with a profound respect for its people and their positive outlook on life. The one thing that I learned on this trip is that by helping others we can help ourselves understand the importance of life.
Amanda, 16, Maple Ridge, B.C. I knew I was making a difference. I would love to bring friends and just about everyone I know next year so they can experience it too. I’m going to save up everything I have so I can go again.
Nicholas, 17, Lower Sackville, N.S. One of my favourite memories is when we were digging a trench for water. We had some of the pipe already laid and covered and then we hooked it all up. All the locals huddled around the pipe as the fresh water ran through it. Everyone was emotional at that point. I was holding in tears until we walked back to the truck. I was the first to sit down and I started crying. I knew they would all have a better life because of what we did.
Kayla, 17, Burlington, Ont. It’s hard to put into words the experience I had while on this trip. I am so much more educated on poverty and everything that comes along with it, and now I am able to do something about it, whether it be holding a child’s hand or sponsoring a child or family. Going on this trip has made me a better and stronger person.
Heather, 16, Fall River, N.S. The people there have nothing, but they are so happy. They praise God for every little thing they have. Back in Canada, all we want is more. We want the new toy, the new computer, the new car. All we think about is what we don’t have. The Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic are happy for what they have, and they literally have nothing. When you walked into the villages, there were kids dancing and singing and smiling. It’s amazing how these kids are so happy when they have nothing. I guess I’m a totally new person. I try to be like those children; happy with what I have. Not always wanting more, not complaining because I don’t have something, and always being happy. I want to be able to dance and sing and praise God for what I have, not complain about what I don’t have. This is a project I hope to do every year from now on!
Stephanie, 15, Elliot Lake, Ont. We came from all corners of Canada with hardly anything in common, and we left as a family, with an unbreakable bond and unforgettable memories. We even accepted each other’s sweat (like it or not) on the bus. It was crazy how after the second day, we were so dirty, wet, and tired that we forgot completely about the simple luxuries of home. We take everything like that for granted. Even something as simple as brushing our teeth under the tap was impossible on the trip. Those tiny things seemed to have one of the biggest impacts on me. After getting home, I was amazed at how easy we have it. I’m still in disbelief that people in the world are living the way those people are.
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