When we talk about our Student Intern Social Entrepreneurial Program, we always have one or two wonderful stories we share as examples. Every once in a while we have an extraordinary story to share and then there is this story!
This is a story of two remarkable young women and the power of one plus one.
Sol Melina Guzman is employed full time as a Para-Professional in a local elementary school and is a part-time college student and fashion entrepreneur, reselling clothing on line as well as designing, manufacturing and selling her own designs on-line. Sol started with us as a student intern in Middle-School, when she emigrated from the Dominican Republic. In High school Sol helped to found a young women’s philanthropy group, who made it their mission to read to kindergarten students and supply them with books.
Arianna Herrera is in her Senior Year in High School. Arianna started with us as in intern in Middle-School when emigrating here from the Dominican Republic. Arianna is an Honor Student and the BEST Cashier in our Thrift Store.
As part of the Internship, each student intern must develop and implement an “Outside of GiftsToGive Philanthropy Project”. In September of 2022 Hurricane Theona devastated parts of the Dominican Republic. The two young women banded together, organized collection drives, inspected, sorted and packaged six crates and sent them by freighter. In December, they flew down to the island, took receipt of their shipment at the docks, brought them to their grandmother’s home and organized packages of clothes, books and toys for 57 children in their old village.
When they returned to their new homes in New Bedford, they started up all over again, this time determined to help all the children in the village who did not receive a gift package on their initial trip.
In January, they collected enough stuff to fill twelve crates and sent them by freighter and flew down for the second time, over their February vacation. This second trip they were able to help the rest of the children, totaling 157!
We are in the business of connecting young people to giving and service, thousands of students volunteer with us each year. Of these thousands of young people, hundreds return and keep on volunteering. Then there are a few dozen that stand out of all the rest and take on regular assignments and projects. Then there is Sol and Arianna, who with some help from family, friends and their new SouthCoast community, were able to mount a most amazing relief effort in another part of the world to help children in the village they grew up in!
Talk about “Tangible Philanthropy” and “Service to Others”” and we point to Arianna and Sol. These young women are truly a bright and shining light focused on what is best about us. They are the great hope we have for their generation.