At the beginning of our junior year in high school, five of us decided we wanted to start a club that would work to help others. We were thrilled by the idea of connecting with a community in an entirely different part of the world, which is why when one of us found World Connect, it felt as though the perfect opportunity had fallen right into our laps. Still tentative and new to the process of starting our own school club, it was extremely reassuring to meet with Patrick Higdon, the World Connect Program Manager, and find that he was even more supportive than we could ever have hoped. When it came time to choose a project, we had already acquired some members and put it to a vote. The majority chose a project based in the Dominican Republic, which seemed exciting and interesting, and we were delighted to put time into it. Though running a club and working to raise money was no simple task, it proved to be beneficial not only to women in the Dominican Republic, but also to the members of our club, and especially to the five of us. It was a lesson in organization, planning, and time management, yes, but above all it was a lesson in putting others before ourselves.

We have held a handful of fundraising bake sales for World Connect at Newton North sporting events. One of the exciting sales for us was when we sold 10 boxes of pizza at a daytime basketball game. The most memorable fundraising adventure we have had was last spring, when we planned to sell baked goods at local soccer games. Optimistically, we bought 5 dozen doughnuts and 3 packs of water bottles, and headed to a field complex a couple towns over. Little to our knowledge, there were no games going on at that field. Without giving up hope, we trucked all the way back to our town and tried out some local fields. Still nothing. Panicked, we tried one last field and struck big with a little league tournament. It was the most amazing feeling to realize we had raised $370, just two hours after we faced returning home empty handed with 60 doughnuts. World Connect gave us these feelings of accomplishment, lessons in perseverance and the inspiration of knowing our hard work is helping women in the Dominican Republic start their business.

- Amelia, Taylor, Olivia, Fiona, Katie