Not a Traditional Vacation

Not a Traditional Vacation

Tavia Mirassou-Wolf
Staff US

Carolina Westers participated in a service travel trip, "To Cambodia with Love". The travel experience was purchased at a Sustainable Schools International benefit auction. This is what she had to say about her experience...

How did you learn about Sustainable Schools International?

I knew of the founders and was inspired by the work they did in Cambodia to honor their adopted son. I’ve always been drawn to people who adopt or foster children because I used to run a group home benefiting over a hundred children. I learned more about the journey of creating Sustainable Schools International when I joined a book club and read Kari’s book, Bones that Float.

Why did you decide to bid on the “To Cambodia with Love” service travel experience?

Given that I was inspired by SSI’s work in Cambodia and that I had never been to the region, I was moved to visit these projects in person. What’s funny is that when I was bidding on this trip, I did not realize that I was bidding against several of my fellow book club members!

What did you find the most interesting about Cambodia?

While I knew some about the Khmer Rouge and how it affected Cambodians, I did not understand the magnitude until I visited the country. Visiting Cambodia, particularly the Khmer Rouge sites, was emotional and brought me to tears. Almost everyone I met around my age and younger had several family members killed during the regime, and it wasn’t even that long ago! Given the atrocities that occurred, I was also struck and inspired by how lovely and welcoming the people of Cambodia are.

What part of SSI’s programming did you find the most impactful?

That you do not focus simply on traditional education in one life stage but rather provide diverse opportunities throughout a student's educational journey. Leadership training is what makes SSI unique. The leadership in Cambodia must be replaced, but the human resources are limited. It’s one thing to improve literacy skills but what will have long-term impact is building fair leaders of tomorrow.

What inspired you to become a monthly donor?

After my visit to Cambodia I wanted to help cultivate the next generation of leaders and improve education. I love that my money can be stretched so far in Cambodia. Lastly, I like how convenient it is to make my monthly donation.

Are you looking for a real estate agent? To make an even BIGGER impact, Carolina Westers will donate 10% of all commission proceeds made through her real estate business. Just tell Carolina SSI sent you her way and she’ll send us a check after the closing! Carolina averages a home sale every 6 days and in the top 2% of RE/MAX agents worldwide! Learn more about Carolina here.

"What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it." ~C.S. Lewis

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