Cade Story-Yetto attended the Global Citizenship Alliance‘s Global Citizenship Seminar in Salzburg, Austria during summer 2017. Cade returned to the WVC campus determined to make an impact. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Cade assumed various leadership roles, among them collaborating with other students and creating a new student club–a “forum,” as they call it: The Society of Global Citizens.
West Valley College has made a commitment to its new Service Learning Institute, and Cade and SGC are at the core of its work. SGC is planning their first service learning opportunity for its 14 members and two faculty members to visit Puerto Rico.
In order to organize this service learning opportunity, SGC has partnered with Community Collaborations International, a non-profit organization that facilitates alternative break and alternative experiential education projects. CC International provides all food, lodging, and project coordination, so that volunteers can focus on completing their chosen projects.
In September 2017, Hurricane María, a powerful Category 4 storm, the strongest to hit Puerto Rico in the last 85 years, devastated the island. SGC members will go to Puerto Rico to immerse themselves in Puerto Rican culture, to understand how a natural disaster affects a society’s infrastructure, economy, and environment, and to be exposed to crisis management and community involvement
Cade explains: “Our volunteers will help families rebuild their homes and provide desperately needed building supplies. We will also support the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico” by tutoring and helping with school repairs, and participating in recreational and educational activities with the local youth.
The group will visit Fajardo, a small city and the hub of recreational boating in Puerto Rico, and they will have an opportunity to learn about reforestation and trail clean up in Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve, which protects the Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay, as well as rare flora and fauna, mangroves, and lush rainforest.
They will participate in hurricane recovery, trail clearing, facility maintenance, wildlife habitat improvement and tree planting in El Yunque National Forest, a biologically diverse tropical rain forest that hosts hundreds of animal and plant species that are vital to the ecosystem and economy of Puerto Rico.
The group will also contribute to the Puerto Rican tourism industry by exploring the Coral Reef Barrier Islands, taking a catamaran trip to Icacos Island, and snorkeling.
Cade and SGC want to make a difference in the world. They hope that this service learning trip to Puerto Rico will invigorate all those who go, and that it will have a ripple effect, so that students will continue growing as Global Citizens who commit to making an impact on their communities.