Everyone wants to change the world…but what does that even mean?

Who Are We to Help People?

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It is common to hear people say they want to change the world, to improve the lives of the poor or even impact the lives of those who are in dire need. These phrases are constantly thrown around with significant meaning or little to none. The question that never seems to surface often is do the people want your help?


When I began high school I decided I wanted to become a nurse one day. The obvious “why” or “for what reason” has always been a reoccurring question in my life. What has changed over time is my

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outlook. I always replied “I want to help people” or “I want to make a difference in someone’s life”. Never did I respond “the idea of sticking someone with a needle or taking vital signs has me sold”.


When I visited El Salvador for the first time, my hopes to help people changed me. I realized I wanted people to experience the same opportunities that I was fortunate to have in the United States. Not everyone is able to have an education, clean water and access to medicine.  I did not choose to be born in the United States with a multitude of opportunities, it was a matter of luck. As my first two years in nursing school came to an unfortunate close I began to doubt myself. I was so stubborn, I believed the only way I could help people in life was through nursing, nothing else. Having thoughts of my friends in El Salvador I realized I was being selfish not taking advantage of the opportunity right in front of me, my education. As I changed my career pathway to Global Health I still kept the idea in my head “I want to help people”. I even wrote in my IDS essay “The main goal of a global health professional is to work to implement programs that protect the health of individuals, families and communities in the United States and abroad, while simultaneously educating communities”. I never once thought if someone actually wanted my help, or was against me helping them. This harsh reality smacked into me the first time in fours years about a month ago. I was studying abroad and my roommate at the time said to me, “I hate missionaries and how they go into other countries trying to change the communities regardless of their culture and beliefs. You see people

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posting pictures with poor little children then when they come back to the U.S are complaining how the wifi only works in the downstairs area of their home and not the whole house.  In that moment I sat in a complete silence which felt like an eternity. I was re evaluating my every thought towards my past goals and beliefs. I never once questioned if someone wanted me to help them. How could someone not want help? I was in utter shock. I of course argued with her about my organization and the debate cordially went back and forth over the month we spent together but two things occurred to me. I respected her immensely for having a different opinion, and I would never think the same outlook on helping people as I did before.


The purpose of my research article is to challenge yourself, challenge your passions, even if you do not believe in something guide yourself to understand why someone else does. This research article will depict the controversies of mission/service work around the world. I will dig deep into the perspectives of those who are against being helped. This is key to my future in the Global Health field because I will interact with those who don’t actually want my help or want to listen to my thoughts on opportunity and improvement. Rather than take offense it important I realize the presence of cultural diversity, and learn other ways to approach someone with alternate beliefs. In conclusion, I am excited to challenge my own personal ideals, beliefs and life goals by furthering my knowledge through the perspective’s of others.


Each Thursday of the week in tandem with my applied project I will be putting aside an hour minimum for the research article. In addition I will put an hour of research every Tuesday.

10/23: Final outline of all topics to be included in RA

10/21: Rough draft of RA due

10/21-11/6: Visit the writing center

*Before due date return to the writing center with final corrections

12/12: DUE DATE

Changing the World Though Service: A Step by Step Guide

Hey remember when I mentioned the part where people are always looking to change the world? Have no fear my step by step guide is here! Through out my experience doing service trips people who are interested in my work tend to say “I want to do something like that!” or “I wish I had time, maybe I will search for another program when I’m done school”. I used to say the exact same things before my service trips abroad, now looking back I can’t imagine not seizing the opportunity! Prior to this summer I was simply a volunteer who followed instructions from group leaders and filled out paper work as it was given. When I was told I’d be working at the school one day and the Health Clinic another thats where I’d be. I was a volunteer on a trip planned by someone else which was wonderful but I grew eager to test my own skills and ideas. It wasn’t until I became a board

member for Epilogos Charities Inc. that I decided to plan a trip. Myself and another board member who met 5 years ago are the youngest of the board members. As 21 year olds in a room of  members who are 50 or older it can be easy to feel out of place. But we are the future, with out young members who are eager to gain experience it is difficult to keep the organization successfully up and running for years to come. So what was the best way to improve our understanding of how to run a successful organization?Plan a trip of our own! It was an experience to say the least, and made me realize how much work is put into a service trip before the actual service trip begins. The goal of this applied project will be to teach people how to plan, prepare and execute a service trip on their own through my personal experience. I will touch base on all aspects whether it be fundraising, flight fees, or in the event you accidentally drink local water what tips to follow when feeling crappy (haha no pun intended). This can all be accessed on my ePort page Changing the World Through Service: A Step by Step Guide. The site will be interactive with personal stories, video tutorials, logistic FAQ,  links to cheap airfare and more!


Each week I have set aside meeting times with IDS Program Support Administrator Janina Misiewicz to work on my webpage and create alternate links

-10/12: First meeting with Janina to start building Webpage

-10/19: Meet with Janina

-10/2: Have rough draft of  all components of webpage planned out before meeting with Janina

-Have weekly meetings with Janina as needed until 10/30. Begin sharpening and fine tuning the due date is coming!!

-12/12 due date



One thought on “Everyone wants to change the world…but what does that even mean?”

  1. The RA topic is challenging and important, and I am so glad you decided to tackle it. I heard this on NPR, which might be helpful: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/20/157105485/missionaries-in-africa-doing-more-harm-than-good. I also think Janina and I could help you do some initial research on this, since I think there are probably a lot of good academic sources related to colonialism that we could ferret out, so come see one of us if you are having trouble finding scholarly sources to work with.

    I also like the idea of the Step-by-step guide for your AP, and the way it balances out the more critical approach of your RA. Together, this will be a really smart, hopeful, aspiring, and thoughtful approach to service in developing countries. Sounds very good, and I am excited for this work to get underway!

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