Luci Mino - Just Plane Fare 2012
My First Trip Abroad
In 2007 I went on a trip to Costa Rica with my high school Spanish class. It was a huge deal for me and set me on a mission to see the world. I managed to save enough to cover nearly half of the cost of the trip, but there was no way I was going to be able to get the rest of the money myself. As the final payment due date approached, a few of the teachers in my school raised over a thousand dollars and paid the remainder of the cost for me.
Offering the Award
Since that first trip, just five years ago, I’ve traveled to over 30 countries. Exploring the world has become a lifestyle for me. As a way to “pay it forward” I started offering an award to students from my high school. Using my frequent flyer miles and credit card points I offer round-trip airfare to anywhere in the world. The only requirements are that trip be focused on some project, the trip must be longer than one month, and the official language cannot be a native language of the student.
NOTE: You can donate your frequent flyer miles to students too, just contact me.
The First Recipient
Luci Mino is a recent graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School and she’s the first student to receive the Just Plane Fare award. Right now she’s living in Monterrey, Mexico and is working at El Rancho Del Rey. Here’s a note on her progress that she said I could publish:
On August 14th, I flew to Monterrey Mexico to begin an internship as part of the staff of a home for boys called El Rancho Del Rey. Along with the general internship, I came prepared to run a art/music program and set up a classroom on the ranch for this purpose. I came not knowing what to expect and was met with an incredible amount of hard work, as well as an incredible amount of love and support.
I have visited El Rancho on short term service trips for the past four years, but with the help of John Britton, my friends and family, and so many incredible supporters back home, it was made possible for me to go on a more long term stay. I am here until June teaching, cooking, cleaning, parenting, and learning. Needless to say, this is a dream gap year for me. I graduated from high school June 3rd of this year, and I am hoping to study creative arts therapy in college.
This is the perfect opportunity for me to get some much-needed experience, as well as sun and beautiful hot weather. Right now we have 23 boys from the ages of 7-15. They come from a variety of situations… but all come from broken homes. Some have only one parent in their lives, others are being taken care of by relatives, some have siblings working in the drug cartels, and most have been surviving in these situations on the streets. One of my main objectives in starting a program in the arts is to help inspire the incentive and encouragement they need in order to strive for a better life and a better future.
If they can see the fruits of their labour, a display of their own artwork, perform their first piano piece, maybe that desire to work harder and change their future will be their drive to succeed in school, and make the right choices. Each day, I see improvement in all of my classes. I have been blessed with so many talented, beautiful students who surprise me with new hidden parts of their personalities every day.
As of now, I am teaching four group music classes two times a week, four group art classes two times a week, and an average of twenty five private music lessons throughout the week. I also help to cook breakfast for thirty five people, parent, clean, and do anything else that needs to be done. My next project is to start teaching English as well.
The weather here is beautiful and sunny… it doesn’t feel anything like fall in the Berkshires. Instead of leaves blowing in the wind, we have hundreds of butterflies! They’re everywhere in many different colors… red, yellow, orange, purple, black, brown, the list goes on. With the arrival of the butterflies, I have seen the interest of the boys heighten and they beg me every day for extra classes. They all have such potential to do great and wonderful things in their lives. They just need to be given the chance!