This spring, Xaviera Awad ‘29 traveled to Medellin, Colombia, on a community service trip with TECHO, a youth-led non-profit organization working to fight poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean by building transitional housing. The venture is a family affair, as Xaviera’s family sponsored some of the houses that were built. Read on to learn about her experiences with TECHO, her passion for giving back, and more.
Q: You recently went on your second building trip. Tell us about your experience.
A: My recent trip to Colombia was an amazing experience. I got to meet all kinds of nice people and I got to have a lot of fun building a house to help a really kind family. My first trip was to the Dominican Republic. It was a really amazing experience and it made me want to go on another trip. It made me happy to help a family have a roof over their heads. On my second trip it was a little bit different because of COVID; we weren’t able to walk around the whole community without a mask. We did get to paint the house a mint green, and I really love this color. I completely recommend this trip with TECHO and would definitely go for a third time.
Q: How did you discover your passion for giving back to the community?
A: I discovered my passion for giving back to this community because it makes you happy when you finish building a house. You do fun things on the TECHO trip; for example, you dig a hole and then write something nice about a person in a family, and once you read it out loud you put the paper in a hole while you’re building. You get to try different foods and so many more things. All these trips are important to me because I know that I helped someone.
Q: Are there other community service ventures that you participate in?
A: I do a couple beach clean-ups and it’s really fun. I like to do this with either friends or family. [One time] my friend and I found a broken beach umbrella and brought it back to the clean-up center. The owners were so surprised at our find.
Q: Has Gulliver exposed you to the importance of community service? If yes, how so?
A: Gulliver did expose me to community service. In fifth grade we have to collect five hours of community service. I thought of doing a bunch of two-hour clean-ups, but then my dad told me about a Techo building trip coming up. I wanted to go so badly and was so excited to go and help out.
Q: What else are you involved in or passionate about?
A: I am in the Craft Club at school. Outside of Gulliver, I play volleyball and tennis. I am passionate about volleyball, tennis, drawing, helping out others, and many more things.