By: Sarah O’Brien ’19
A fun trip, a life changing experience, and service hours: Rustic Pathways provides over a hundred trips all over the world for kids who want to make a difference.
“We empower students through innovative and responsible travel experiences to positively impact lives and communities around the world.”
That is the Rustic Pathways mission. This program has been sending kids ages 13-19 all over the world to make it a better place.
Besides celebrities such as Megan Fox, Jonah Hill, and Mila Kunis, who have all participated in this program, Notre Dame students are very involved in the Rustic Pathways experience.
Julian Rishwain ‘19 went to Kenya last summer through Rustic Pathways for a life altering experience.
“It was truly amazing, and I can truly say it made me a better person.” His job was to build houses and and help teach children English.
“The kids made it worth it. Seeing the smiles on their faces for the simplest acts was incredible. It made me feel so lucky to be given the life I have, but I was taken aback by how happy and appreciative these children were for how little they had. It made me feel very grateful.”
Kate Converse ‘19 took a trip to Fiji to help children learn to read and build schools.
“It was by far the best experience of my life,” said Converse. “We take so much for granted, like taking showers, eating food, driving a car, or even going to school. We are given so much and this trip really opened my eyes to appreciate and recognize these blessings more.”
Although these trips come with a hefty price tag depending on the program you choose, for some, it provides an experience that is life-changing.
Trips can be anywhere from 8 and 28 days in duration and some programs offer service hour opportunities. (Be sure to check with Mr. LaFace to ensure that the program you select qualifies if you would like to use those hours to fulfill your Christian Service requirement.) The intermediate length trip, which is about 16 days, earns about 75 hours of service on average.
Rustic Pathways always leaves the last couple of days for relaxing and celebrating the hard work students have completed. In the final days of this excursion, participants are given the opportunity to explore their destination, with time to reflect, shop, and experience a foreign land’s culture. Along with this experience, students will meet and make friends with people from all over the world to create lifelong friendships.
If you are a fan of charity, friendship, and exploration then Rustic Pathways might have the right program for you.