Dear Beauties, I want you to meet one of my dearest friends, Charlotte.
She is Saying YES to Adventure, everyday. And so far, more than any other person I know she has committed to a life of Adventure and service. I first met Charlotte at our little Episcopal Church in Orange City, Iowa. She was smart, eloquent and had a heart as big as the sky. One in a million. She has done some beautiful things with her life. She has been an AmeriCorps VISTA, worked at The Bridge Transitional Housing Program (a haven for battered and abused women and children), and served at the Coldwater Foundation.
She is looking forward to what life has for her and it’s in Lupeni, Romania. She has COMMITTED three years of her life to adventure as the Study Abroad coordinator for New Horizons Foundation. This is a huge commitment. I want to join with her in her fundraising for her new life adventure. This is important work she is doing empowering youth to learn how to be significant in their own communities. This quiet work is the work of global change.
I have done a series of small mixed media works inspired by Charlotte, our friendship and the values that we both hold. 25% of the proceeds from this sale will go to fund her service in Romania and her life there for the next three years. I invited Charlotte to tell us a bit about her journey:
I Climbed a Mountain & Set Higher Goals
Several years ago, I studied abroad in a small city in Romania with a unique program with The New Horizons Foundation.
New Horizons Foundation has developed innovative models for youth development. Youth in their IMPACT clubs throughout the country learn communication, citizenship and job skills through the use of moral stories and service projects. New Horizons Foundation was founded by Dana and Brandi Bates in 2000 by starting the nation’s first ropes course and outdoor education camp. Their endeavors started small and grew to a worldwide phenomenon in developing countries. Almost all the foundation’s staff members are Romanian because the foundation is primarily a community development organization. I’m so excited to be working with students who come over to learn about the work New Horizons is doing, and hope the students become agents of change for the better in their home communities.
I have been searching for the past several years for a position that would be more than a job – something that would combine my love of travel, my desire to mentor college students, and my passion for experiential learning. These were all cultivated during my study abroad semester in Lupeni, Romania during my senior year of college. The program had a significant impact on me and on what I wanted to do with my life.
What I saw in Romania both changed me and called true things out of me– things I had forgotten about.
The unofficial mottos of the semester are “The glory of God is man fully alive,” a quote by St. Irenaeus, and John 10:10, “I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We have had so many conversations, in and out of class, about what “fully alive” meant for us and for community development.
What I saw, talked about, and experienced in Romania gave me courage to be myself.
At the time, I disliked that I was an introvert, but studying these quotes showed me I needed to make peace and accept my introspective self. At the time, I believed that I would always be a little overweight and not able to do much athletically.
But within the first 3 weeks of the program, I had climbed a mountain, and so I was forced to reevaluate my view of my physicality and set higher goals for myself. There are so many other things the semester taught me about faith, expression of religion, how much culture shapes people, how to problem solve, how to get outside of my comfort zone, how to redefine success, and most importantly, to search for “the good life.”
So now, I have the opportunity to move back to rural Romania to serve with the study abroad program. I’ll be the administrator for the program, and get to work on budgets, travel plans, debriefing conversations and fun outings. I am so excited to assist students in their experiences in Romania and their translation of it into ways they can make choices that will lead to a full life for themselves.
Honestly, I’m a little terrified and intimidated of what I’m going to do, but in the best way. It’s like all those cheesy pinterest quotes about doing the things that scare you because they’re what you are supposed to do. But in stead of a pinning it on a pinterest board, I’m doing it – which makes it 23524534308x more terrifying.
Yet, I know this is what I am supposed to do next on my journey.
This is the next piece of making my good life.