Henrico Co. IB and Kaiser Permanente Volunteers in Costa Rica

Group Photo

During our trip to Rancho Quemado, Costa Rica with Court for Kids, I “caught” a chicken. I learned to patch up a wound like an EMT. I was drenched in sweat every day. I ate rice and beans with every meal. I learned to level concrete. And I had the most amazing experience of my entire life.

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From the minute I stepped off the plane I knew I was going to be a part of something special but I don’t think I understood the magnitude of the project that we were undertaking until we arrived at the work site. In a matter of four days, I witnessed a team of 20 strangers from two completely different states and even a group of villagers from Rancho Quemado band together to work through the seemingly insurmountable mental and physical challenges that it took to build a court in three days. I learned important lessons in work ethic from the villagers and even from an 8-year old boy from California. I watched as the determined women and girls on our team inspired the young girls in the village to break through the typical gender roles and to come out and do the physical labor that was typically left to the men in their community.

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My trip to Rancho Quemado exposed me to an incredible world that I never even knew existed and I’m honored to have been able to meet, work, and play with all the people in the village. I’m so thankful to Courts for Kids and to everyone who made this trip possible and although I know I could never duplicate this fantastic experience, I look forward to going on another one soon.

– Joy Ma, Senior at Henrico High School

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