I’m Marcella Miles, an intern and Youth Council member for California Youth Energy Services. I became involved with Rising Sun through the summer employment program, but I desperately wanted to continue my work in the energy-efficient field. I joined Youth Council to make a difference in the lives of my community members. I never really imagined that volunteering would eventually extend to people abroad as well. I was enlightened to see how many people were willing to help our cause.
Youth Council held two goals: to complete a local environmental project and to complete a project abroad. The Youth Council decided that we would benefit people the most by building stoves in Guatemala. Once the project idea was established, we immediately began planning our fundraising. Within a couple of months, ten youth were boarding a red-eye flight to Los Angeles and a second flight flying directly to Guatemala City.
Arriving in Guatemala was a very nerve-wracking experience. I was very ambivalent and exhausted from the flight. Upon landing, I was taken back by the hospitality and similarities to culture back home. Everyone was willing to say hello and help us navigate. I was eager to learn more about Guatemala and get started on the project.
It wasn’t until we worked on the project sites that I began to connect with the Guatemalan culture. Looking into the eyes of the families we had planned to help for the first time is inexplicable. We worked hard as a group, but we still took time to foster a deep relationship with the Guatemalan families. They were very thankful and impressed by our diligence. Not only were we helping them, but we were also able to build lasting friendships.
This trip opened my eyes to a new world that I didn’t realize existed. I felt less dependant on superficial commodities back home. I craved life and culture more than I ever had before. I was much more focused on helping people and building strong relationships after this trip. Bringing a smile to one’s face is something that can’t be achieved by any technological luxury we have back home. Now, I’m more motivated and prepared than ever before!
– Marcella Miles, Youth Council Member
Would you like to hear more about the Guatemalan Stove project and how you can make a social and environmental impact in your community? If so, join the Rising Sun Energy Youth Council on Thursday, March 15th from 6pm – 7:30 pm, at the YMCA-PG&E teen center, for an evening of reflection and discussion. Click here to RSVP