Victoria- age 12
Victoria was 10 years old when her parents decided to send her on a trip as a reward for all of the great things she had been doing at school, at home, and in life. They couldn’t take the entire family but really felt Victoria would benefit from an experience traveling abroad. Below is what Victoria had to say about that trip.
Going to Mexico was awesome! I got to do many cool things like hike the Mayan ruins, snorkel the coral reef and horseback ride through the jungle. The hostel we stayed at was amazing! The people there were very nice and after awhile I befriended them. Their dog, Cella, was extremely playful. One day we were going out and Cella wanted to play. When I didn’t immediately play with her she grabbed my pants. I tried to get them back but we ended up in a tug-o-war. It was very funny!
We were there during the time of Carnival. The floats were beautiful! I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Jenni has a video of me hopping up and down during the entire parade. I was trying to get attention from the people on the floats were throwing beads. By the end of the night I had at least thirty beads!
When the time came to leave Mexico I was sad. I said goodbye to everyone at the hotel and I promised I could come back to visit them. I hope I get a chance to go back someday. Mexico was one of the most beautiful and special places on Earth.
Rachel- Victoria’s mom
Here is what Victoria’s mom had to say about sending Victoria to travel with us.
In February of 2010 Jenni took my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, to Cozumel Mexico. When Jenni suggested taking Victoria to Mexico for two weeks I was hesitant at first since Victoria had never been that far away from me for such a long period of time. Jenni, understanding Victoria and her love of other cultures, knew it would be an incredible opportunity for her to experience the world. Jenni is one of the most intelligent, diligent, organized, levelheaded people I know. In addition, Jenni has experience traveling the world having been to Mexico, Costa Rica, Switzerland and India among other places. I agreed.
Two years later, Victoria still talks about her to trip to Mexico. While there, she snorkeled ocean reefs, saw giant sea turtles, hiked the Mayan ruins, and caught beads at Carnival. She met fascinating people who she grew quite fond of during her visit. If Victoria ever has the chance to travel with Jenni a second time I will not hesitate to send her and I know Victoria would jump at the chance to travel with Jenni again! I am very grateful to Jenni for providing this rare and enriching opportunity for Victoria.
Summer- age 16
Summer was just 14 when her parents realized she was making some poor decisions that were leading her down a dangerous path. They asked Jenni to take her to India in an attempt to broaden her world view and provide the opportunity for a change in perspective. Summer is now attending college at the age of 16. Below is an account of her experience, in her own words.
Going to spend three months of my summer in India was not something I was looking forward to, but once I got there I had one of the most eye opening and life changing experiences of my life. I lived in a residential area in Kolkata for two months and I spent the last month hostel jumping. While in Kolkata I volunteered at a home for trafficked women and girls. I taught art there. I developed the most amazing connection with some of the younger girls there. Although we did not speak a word of the same language we managed to connect on personal levels that I don’t think I’ve experienced before. Leaving them there was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. A year later I still think of them fondly and often. Seeing the things I saw while there really opened my eyes to how privileged we are here in America, even those of us with less money then others. I just think that it’s amazing what human beings are capable of doing and accomplishing and we don’t even know it yet.
Going to India was no picnic but it was so worth it in the end that none of the discomforts even mattered. Just being there and getting to share a few hours a week at the shelter home with those little girls made it all worth it for me.