Fifteen students will serve in Guatemala this summer, May 7 through 21. Led by Pat Bristor, associate dean of students, and Ryan Smith, assistant director of student activities, students will assist at an orphanage and perform daily service projects, including maintenance to the building, interacting with the children and more.
Bristor has led the group for years, developing a close relationship with the orphanage with each trip. She looks forward to seeing the same children every year, watching as both they and the students grow.
“We never really know what all we will be doing until we arrive,” said Bristor, who will be going on the trip for the tenth time. “Typically, we spend a lot of time with the children; we have planned crafts, music and sports days for them. We will teach English to the children, conduct an oral hygiene workshop and assist them with their homework.”
Bristor said in years past, the group has also painted the buildings, painted murals on the walls of children’s rooms, built a cinderblock wall and dug trenches for water lines among other projects.
Both Bristor and Smith said students grow tremendously through their participation, whether it is applying their skills in nursing, teaching and ministry, or simply learning to understand another culture.
“This experience is very impactful and authentic,” said Smith. “This trip will allow students to grow mentally and spiritually out of their comfort zones because they are immersed into the Guatemalan culture.”
Students attending the Guatemala service trip this year include:
- Brianna Armenia, freshman sociology major from Odessa, Florida (J. W. Mitchell High School)
- Sadie Breon, junior psychology major from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania (Central Mountain High School)
- Isabella Cantafio, junior nursing major from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania (Pine-Richland School District)
- Marybeth Cocchi, junior nursing major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mountain Lebanon High School)
- Jonah Cooper, junior nursing major from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (Beaver County Christian School)
- Morgan Davis, junior business management major from Abingdon, Maryland (New Covenant Christian School)
- Natalie Fortna, junior nursing major from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (Canon McMillan School District)
- Michelle Harris, junior human services major from Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania (Belle Vernon Area High School)
- Michelle Keith, junior middle-level education major from Rochester, Pennsylvania (Freedom Area High School)
- Megan McElligott, freshman psychology major from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (Waynesburg Central High School)
- Alexandria Peters, junior sociology and political science major from Meadville, Pennsylvania (Meadville Area Senior High School)
- Alexis Phillips, freshman biology pre-med major from New Kensington, Pennsylvania (Plum Senior High School)
- David Shannon, freshman nursing major from Greenville, Pennsylvania (Greenville Senior High School)
- Julie Sipes, junior nursing major from Greencastle, Pennsylvania (Home School)
- Sarah Trocki, junior psychology major from Cheswick, Pennsylvania (Deer Lakes High School)
For more information about the Guatemala service trip, contact Bristor at 724-852-3315.