Helping Migrant Workers

Describe the personal experience that gave you the feeling of greatest achievement or satisfaction because of the challenges you met.

My involvement in Key Club, an organization devoted to aiding the less fortunate, has led me to discover new roads, providing me with experiences that have helped me to mature spiritually and psychologically. My position in the club as an officer and Board member demands that I continuously search for service opportunities for our members, and last year I came across a particularly significant one.One Sunday at church, I heard of a group’s efforts to assist the migrant workers of a nearby city. I contacted this group, gathered the details, and presented the information to the Key Club Board. Following their enthusiastic response, I put together a service project where our members would be able to work directly with the laborers and experience first-hand some of their hardships.I organized the first of several projects one Saturday in November. Our goal was to visit a migrant workers’ camp to provide food, supplies, and to share time with them and their families. This was especially challenging because I was faced with managing new leadership roles. It required that I serve as liaison with the community and my school group. It also required that I find students willing to participate, and that I direct our efforts to ensure sufficient food and supplies and the preparation of a dining area in the camp. In addition, I had to secure transportation of students to the camp. A significant challenge was to find students who could communicate with the workers in Spanish. I invited students from language clubs on campus who could translate and explain the Mexican migrants’ culture and language.Once we arrived at the camp, we were shocked by what we saw. We realized that our preconceptions of how the migrants lived had been completely inaccurate. We were exposed to a level of poverty previously unimaginable. My lax attitude towards this issue changed immediately and I suddenly felt a responsibility to this deprived group, to help them to the best of my ability and to ensure that others would be informed of the grave injustices occurring in our own backyards. I took to heart their silent appreciative nods and their quiet “thank you’s” after serving them dinner, and this compelled me to return and continue helping. I also noticed my peers’ reactions, especially when they played games with the children, and sensed the students’ satisfaction and eagerness to return.Every aspect of the project was a success, so much so that I was able to schedule several more service projects for the following weekends. In the process I gained a sense of great personal accomplishment. We provided some much appreciated supplies and food to the migrants and gave time and attention to their children. I also succeeded in introducing myself and others to a different, harsh way of life as well as a new culture. This increased our sensitivity to the migrant families and spread awareness of their difficult, precarious lives. I am very proud to have coordinated such an extraordinary effort and to introduce my schoolmates to the plight of migrant laborers and their families.I have already begun to plan the next project, which will occur at the end of this year, and my Key Club advisor has assured me that this project will continue after I graduate. It is my hope that by catalyzing awareness and a sense of responsibility in those around me, we can make lasting change in the migrants’ lives. 

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