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My first week in South Africa has been the most immersive learning experience of my life. I have been so inspired by all the new people I have met that share the same passion and enthusiasm to leave a positive impact on the world. Global Vision International’s (GVI) mission statement is “to build a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.” My own personal network has already expanded and continues to grow with the other Stanford and Duke student-athletes, as well as the GVI staff and teachers here.

“Everyone works together to give an equal opportunity to every child, regardless of their age or skill level, and pushes each child to their full learning potential. Everyone brings a unique set of skills that fosters a safe, fun environment that the children love.”

Growing up as an elite athlete, I was solely committed to my sport and school. I was surrounded by other athletes who shared the same athletic and academic goals but kept myself enclosed in this network and never branched out. It was not until I arrived at Stanford where I began to meet people with different passions, specifically, people who wanted to help and make a difference to others around them. Being with the other ACE participants from Stanford and Duke has been a humbling experience. Everyone embodies the mission statement of GVI which creates a close-knit group that works together to build a positive environment for those around us. We have come from different schools and sports to connect through our same goals of helping others to leave a positive, lasting impact.

In this first week, we have done a holiday sports camp with children, located in the township Nomzamo. Not only have I learned a lot with lesson planning and teaching the children, I have also learned so much from watching everyone else interact with the children. Everyone is so invested and committed to making sure every single child is involved in the activities and participating to the best of their abilities. Everyone is conscious of providing lunch to every single child and making sure nobody goes without getting food that day. Everyone works together to give an equal opportunity to every child, regardless of their age or skill level, and pushes each child to their full learning potential. Everyone brings a unique set of skills that fosters a safe, fun environment that the children love.

When I see the way the children look at everyone, I can tell that the children adore and appreciate everyone’s efforts. When I see this look from the children, it is the most rewarding feeling, because I know that I am so lucky to be able to work with such a dedicated group of people who strive to make a difference to all the children. I know that I will continue to learn from these people and strengthen the network we have created.

This first week has been a very exciting experience. I look forward to more memories and learning opportunities with this group of people during our next two weeks here.

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