Community Service Spotlight: Verhey connects with children from all over the world

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Submitted Photo: Jennie Verhey

Verhey with children from Nicaragua in 2016.

Senior Jennie Verhey began volunteering with her family in 2016 while going on a service trip to Nicaragua. For a week, Verhey worked for the organization Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos and helped children learn to read and write. This past summer, Verhey and her family planned to return to Nicaragua, but they were unfortunately not able to do so.

“We wanted to go back and see the same kids as we already had, but couldn’t because of political unrest. The only other location available was a service trip to El Salvador,” Verhey said.

Verhey’s second service trip in El Salvador brought many new memories along to the previous ones she had made in Nicaragua.

“I played a lot with the kids and helped them with their daily chores. Our purpose there is to interact and immerse ourselves in the experience while making memories and advocating to others around the world,” Verhey said.

Our purpose there is to interact and immerse ourselves in the experience while making memories and advocating to others around the world,”

— Jennie Verhey

One of the memories that stuck out to Verhey the most was her connection with one of the children.

“My favorite memory was meeting my sponsor child in Nicaragua for the first time. His name is Nelson, and when I met him, he was nine years old. The first time we met, he ran up to me to show me his favorite minion stickers,” Verhey said.

After working in Nicaragua and El Salvador, Verhey has noticed a difference in how she can get involved and help others around her.

“I’m overall more aware of conflicts and current events happening in those two countries. I’m also starting to become more involved in events in Minnesota. In the future, I’m helping with galas, and my family and I are hosting children from other countries as well,” Verhey explained.

Verhey plans on going on more mission trips in the future and helping others get more involved in service.