Often we say that it is not only the children whose lives are forever changed by the volunteers of our teams. Victoria Keiser is a senior at Villa Walsh Academy in New Jersey. In her short 17 years on this planet, she has participated in 3 volunteer trips abroad. Below, in her own words, she shares how her participation has changed her life.
I grew up helping people. Compassion was in my blood. My dad is an oral surgeon and my mom, a teacher. These wonderful and caring people have formed my 17-year old personality that yearns to help others. In 8th grade when my dad asked me to be a part of his Peru mission trip of 2005, I jumped at the chance. My only words to him were, "Dad, can you promise I won't see any blood?" I grew up wanting nothing to do with medicine. I wanted to be a teacher and be with children every day. I hated the sight of blood, guts, pus, and all those other bodily fluids. I left for Peru and came back a changed woman. I was only 13 years old and after seeing the poverty and medical needs in Peru, I knew I wanted to change my career plan. Oh, I saw plenty of blood and pus in Peru and I realized that it really didn't bother me as much as I thought. I was cleaning the blood off of the dentists' instruments and watching teeth being pulled and children being scared and parents being thankful. I loved every minute of it and I told my dad that I couldn't wait for the next trip. The next trip I went on was to Guatemala in my junior year of high school. I was much more mature and I felt like a bigger part of the team as I was able to make long-lasting friendships with the team members and help out in a bigger capacity. This trip increased my love for helping people and my dream of one day becoming a doctor. My most recent trip was to Belize in my senior year of high school. I sterilized instruments, held hands, taught dental hygiene practice, handed out toothbrushes, and became a true dental assistant. I am committed to Boston University's class of 2014 to study Human Physiology as a pre-med student. I plan to go through medical school and become a pediatric surgeon and lead trips of my own. In the meantime, I am looking forward to continuing helping others and going on these mission trips with my dad learning about other cultures and helping the poor of the world.