Young Alumni Extend Service Globally
January 18, 2011
A new initiative set forth by Stonehill is giving young alumni the opportunity to not only give back, but also travel the globe and develop their multicultural skills.
Launched in 2009, Stonehill International Extension offers young graduates the chance to help children in India, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras in a variety of ways.
Currently, there are four alumni (pictured above) teaching and tutoring students in two K-12 schools run by the Congregation of Holy Cross in and near Agartala, India. In 2009, five members of the Class of 2009 spent 11 months at the Holy Cross School.
This year, four alumni are aiding a daycare center and a K-12 school in La Romana, Dominican Republic and three alumni are volunteering at a clinic, school and farm at the Guaimaca Mission in Honduras.
Program coordinator and Associate Director of Career Services Kris (Rumney) Silva '92 notes the program's close alignment with Stonehill's mission. "The core principles of Extension Stonehill are ones of serve, simple living, community and spirituality."
Two alumni serving in India, Ben Albert '10 and Marie Mullen '10, have been blogging about their experiences since their arrival there in August.
After completing his first day of teaching at the Blessed André School, the second school operated by the Congregation of Holy Cross, Albert posted:
"One of the most eye-opening moments of the day for me was when a student asked me where in the world I had traveled. I told him that I had been to over 20 countries and the whole class let out a collective gasp. I asked them how many of them had been to Delhi, the Indian capital, not one hand went up. The vast majority of these children have not left their small state of Tripura, some potentially never seeing past the city of Agartala."
Now nearly halfway through the program, the four alumni have experienced countless life-changing events, from a 40-day backpacking excursion through India to performing a number from the High School Musical for their students' amusement at the two Holy Cross Schools in celebration of Children's Day (the opposite of Teacher's Day in America where students get to enjoy dances, songs, and jokes performed by their teachers to encourage laughter before final exams.)
Whether in India, the Dominican Republic or Honduras, Silva notes the young alumni "face testing challenges, but they also are rewarded with a deeper appreciation of our global neighbors."
In one of his latest posts, Albert, pictured below with the three other Stonehill alums teaching in India, wrote about his first Thanksgiving there.
"Despite no one here knowing what a turkey is, I would rate our holiday as an all-around success. Not wanting to dwell on the fact that I wasn't going to be home doing all of my normal Turkey Day things, I chose to head to school and teach the kids about one of the biggest days of the year in the U.S. They enjoyed seeing pictures of turkeys, parades, feasts, family, and, of course, the Pilgrims and Native Americans."
Young alumni are encouraged to apply for the program, regardless of their academic major or minor. The upcoming installment of the India program will now run from January to December. The Honduras program will run from January to November and the Dominican Republic program will go from July to June.
For more information, visit www.stonehill.edu/extension.xml. To read the young alumni blogs, visit www.stonehillblogs.org.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.