This one day when I was in 4th grade I wore all Nike to school. Every item of clothing and my accessories branded the swoosh. I was trying hard to be cool. I'm still trying to be that way today, just like the students on our trips. We wear the latest fashion, we text, snap and tweet on the latest tech, we chug Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino's and listen to new school hip hop via Beats by Dre. On a trip this past March I was reminded that being cool is what we're doing and not how we look doing it.
Every job at Global Travel Alliance is all about people. We are a team of people that provides a service to groups of people so that they can travel and learn about other cultures, places, and people. 8th graders go to Washington, D.C. and follow our American forefather legends. High school students travel to Europe and study famous Renaissance artists. My coworkers, the families we serve, and the interesting people we all meet along the way are why we started Global Doing Good. These people are why we write these stories and post pictures on Instagram. In March I was reminded that Global Doing Good is very cool.
Luis Chavez is a Costa Rican husband and father of six. He is a perfect example of someone who is so unbelievably cool, any words I type can't do his character justice. Ask any of the cool high schoolers from Billings, Montana who spent their spring break with us on a GDG service trip to Costa Rica. They built a home for the Chavez's and if you asked one of them to describe Luis they might tell you about the benches he crafts and sells or the fact that he commutes to work on his bike with a weed whacker slung over his shoulder. However, you would have to shake his hand, give him the keys to his new house, see his beautiful smile, and look into his tear filled eyes with your own to fully comprehend how cool he really is. That week he and those students taught me a lot about a real, non-superficial, humble and joyful way to be cool.
We can show you other families in Costa Rica that our groups build homes for too, like Kattie Arrieta who has no husband, two kids, and a down syndrome grandaughter (who doesn't have a father either). She walks down a dirt road to her job as a high school cafeteria chef and in her free time sculpts paper mache animals. She gave me one glued onto a pen that now stands in my pencil cup at work. It's a very cool pen.
A hip and modern workspace filled with Apple computers and Keurig coffe doesn't make a job cool. Bucket hats, neon tank tops, and knee-high Nike socks don't make an 8th grader cool. Serving, loving and helping others at work, home, and school is cool. Service trips and traveling with a purpose is cool. Studying in an outdoor classroom and actually touching the history, art and science is cool. Filling your passport with stamps and learning another language is cool. Daniel Granados (our Costa Rica Program Director) is cool, his brother-in-law Martin is cool, and his mother-in-law Aura is the coolest of all. Luis Chavez is cool and so is his new house with sturdy walls, concrete floors, plumbing, windows, electricity and an indoor kitchen sink. Students who travel the world and spend time outside, soaked in rain, tired from work, sweaty from heat, and serve a family in need is cool.
To be cool too and learn more about how you can get involved, start here: globaldoinggood.org/get-involved
If your son or daughter is in high school and they want to apply our company values (service, honor, courage and sacrifice), show them our Service Scholars information: globaldoinggood.org/service-scholars
I want to thank the principal, parents, students, and all travelers of the 2015 March Homebuilding trip to Costa Rica who helped make the Chavez family dreams come true.