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A Change in Perspective

Camryn Kopp, Senior Writer

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Flyers Gain New Perspectives After Life Changing Trips

In the midst of the holiday season, it is easy to get wrapped up in all of the gifts and goodies being given from one person to another. While many people obsess over shoes and Snapchat streaks, several students at LHS have experienced what it is like to put their efforts elsewhere, like helping others and appreciating the people in their lives.

Many of these students took part in a service trip to Guatemala with Interact Club during last year’s Spring break. Among them is Natalie Yoder (12), who immediately noticed the differences between the third world country and the first world country that we live in.

“In Guatemala, there are dirt floors, and they have to climb up these huge mountains to get water. We are very lucky to have things like electricity and a TV,” Yoder said.

After returning, Yoder found it quite simple to change some of her old habits and start living with a new perspective.
“I am now more open-minded and willing and able to help others. I also want to go back to more poor countries, like Haiti. That’s one of my goals,” Yoder said.

Helping those less fortunate is an admirable way to realize how insignificant and unimportant material items can be. There are countless ways to get involved with service in our community through many organizations and school clubs. Just one volunteering activity can change someone’s whole perspective on what should be valued most in life. Harrison Rogers (10) understands how fortunate he is compared to many others.

“A lot of the kids in Guatemala were so excited just to be given a little Happy Meal toy that we would take for granted. Americans can be very wasteful with certain things that other people would be happy to have,” Rogers said.

Rogers did not make any big changes to his lifestyle after returning from Guatemala, but he did have a change of heart and learn to appreciate his life more. So many citizens of third world countries never have the opportunity to enjoy American luxuries as simple as clean water and quality education.

“Clearly the people in Guatemala were living in conditions where they did not have what they needed, like basic necessities such as food and water, and here, we have a surplus of food and water. Many of them also don’t have shoes, which is very significant since many people in America have large collections of expensive shoes,” Riya Patel (12) said.
Julian Polizzi (12) is another student that has had experience with many service trips. He recently went to Denver, Colorado and aided homeless people in the area.

“Going on the trip made me understand how some traditional homeless shelters are not very effective, and I found other ways to help people. Our whole focus was on helping the homelessness by working at different food kitchens,” Polizzi said.

Traveling to less affluent areas of the world is not the only way that students at LHS can become less materialistic. Jasmine Ford (12) has found a passion for volunteering and very rarely passes up service opportunities.

“When I volunteer, I appreciate things more, especially in the aspect of working with children with special needs. I talk to their parents and it makes me really grateful to have friends that really care about me. I appreciate the life that I have and the opportunities I am given,” Ford said.

While volunteering does help Ford treasure her life more, she realizes that not everyone has had the experiences that are sometimes necessary to understand why material items are not everything in life.

“I don’t necessarily think that being materialistic is a bad thing, because that’s the way we were taught from such a young age, but I do think we can change how much we care about materials and start caring more about other people,” Ford said.

Americans are very lucky to have things as simple as electricity and a roof over their heads. Realizing how much we have in comparison to so many others can help people have a change of heart and realize what is truly important in life, like happiness and the people around us.

“When people are so obsessed with material items, it keeps them focused on things that don’t actually make them happy. There’s so many other ways to better your life,” Polizzi said.

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