May 12, 2016

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Soles4Souls Student-Athlete Blogs

Michelle Burns | Tyler Kidwell | Asia Doss | Christian Lampasso | Raekwon McMillan | Liz Buerling

Keita Bates-Diop | Lindsay Agnew | Kylie Randall | Billy Price | Miles Johnson

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Wednesday/Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

We’ll be providing live blog updates from Jamaica courtesy of the 11 student-athletes here with Soles4Souls.


Michelle Burns, women’s gymnastics

Hi everyone! We’ve already been having a great time here in Jamaica, and we’ve just gotten started on our trip. It was an early start on Wednesday, arriving at Fawcett Center at 3am. We were all ready to head to the airport when Asia realized that she had left her passport at home–but don’t worry we all arrived to the airport in time! After our first flight and a quick layover in Atlanta, we were on our way to Jamaica. Greeted by our tour guide, Patrick, we headed to a local restaurant and got a taste of authentic Jamaican food–and the heat of Jamaican weather. After checking into our hotel, Verney House, we sorted and picked up the shoes that were to be distributed on Thursday. We ate dinner at Verney House, where Patrick gave us some background of the culture and common used phrases in Jamaica. We ended the night by playing an ice breaker game as a group. It was fun to learn about the Jamaica and a little more about each other!

Exhausted from a long day of travel, we were all in bed before 10pm. We woke up today to a tasty breakfast at our hotel, then we the headed out to our first distribution which was at Glendevon, a primary school. It was such an amazing experience seeing the kids’ faces light up when they saw us–and light up even more when we put the shoes on their feet! One little boy jumped into my arms before I could finish asking him if he liked his new shoes–it was such a humbling experience and a reminder of how privileged we are, especially as Ohio State student-athletes! Most of the kids love soccer and racing/running, so as an athlete, it was fun for me to see them get excited to talk about the sports they enjoyed. I had a really cool conversation with a little girl named Aquema (Ah-key-ma). She is nine years old but already has five younger siblings. When I asked her what she was learning in school, instead of telling me about adding fractions or learning about the history of Jamaica, she told me that she learns how to take care of her family. I had to pause for a second to just look in her eyes–as a nine year old she probably has more responsibilities than I have ever had, and to see this selfless little girl’s face light up when I put her new shoes on her feet was something I will never forget. After distributing the shoes, we were able to play with the kids at their recess, I don’t know who was more excited, us or them! The boys loved showing Raekwon their dance moves, and Christian was having a blast racing the kids. Tyler and Lindsay brought the kids a soccer ball to play with, and the kids loved showing me their gymnastics skills–along with showing me up in a handstand contest!

It was hard to say goodbye to the Glendevon kids, but we had to head to Rose Heights Basic School where we met kids ages 2-5. They were so excited to see us and to get their new shoes. Lindsay and Liz were putting stick-on tattoos on their hands which they absolutely loved showing off! We were able to play a little bit with the kids at Rose Heights Basic as well–they all loved being held and were very intrigued by Kylie’s hair. Again, it was difficult saying goodbye to the kids but we were happy to have been able to give them a new pair of shoes to take home! After the second distribution, it was lunch time!

It’s been such a great experience so far and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our trip holds!


Tyler Kidwell, men’s soccer

Hey everyone. My name is Tyler Kidwell and I am a rising senior on the men’s soccer team. So this is my first service trip and I can honestly say it has been one of the most life-changing experiences of my life, and we are only one day in.

The day started off with a great breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, toast, and some other traditional American breakfast food. After we ate, we were off to our first stop: a primary school in the city. The drive in itself was an adventure, as the roads are very rough and drivers are constantly honking and swerving to avoid each other. When we finally arrived, I have to admit I was a little nervous. I did not know what to expect, and once I got into the school and got set up I felt right at ease. My first job was to be a “runner” who runs the shoes over to the kids once they are properly sized. Although this wasn’t the most interpersonal job, it was good to get an understanding of how the whole operation ran. At first, I was a little hesitant to wave to the kids and smile at them, but that changed very quickly.

After I was done doing the “runner” job, one of my most exciting jobs occurred. I became the tattoo artist for the kids after they were done getting their shoes. Once they were done getting fitted for shoes, we gave them a chance to get a temporary tattoo or a sticker. The coolest moment for me of the day happened while I was doing the tattoos. I would wave the kids over with a smile and almost all of them were very shy at first. While applying the tattoos, accompanied with some small talk, I would finally countdown to when I released the tattoo. When I did, and the kids realized the awesome design on their hand, their faces always lit up with the biggest smile I have ever seen. It was truly awesome to just see how happy something as simple as a 5 cent tattoo could produce.

After this, the kids had their recess time which they call “break”. Because I play soccer, I brought out my soccer ball and kicked around with them for a while. They kept asking me to show them tricks (which I’m not the best at, by the way) and they even brought me up to their field to play in the big kid game. One of the most mind-opening things happened while playing in this game. These little kids would fall face first on cement and gravel and even get smacked in the face point-blank by the ball and not even one kid shed a tear. This kind of opened my eyes up to how tough and care-free these kids are.

Next up for the day was a visit to a local Jamaica preschool. These kids were much younger than the first stop, and they were even shyer. At this stop, my job was to fit the shoe on the kids, and this job is considered the most interpersonal between you and the child. Although the kids were pretty shy and didn’t say much, it was awesome to be able to share such a close moment with them.

Finally, to round out the day, we all got our butts kicked by some local “14-15” year olds in soccer. I put the 14 and 15 in quotations because half the kids on the field had facial hair and out of the two kids I asked, one said he was 17 years old and the other 18. Although we got our butts kicked, it was a very cool experience to play the sport I love against some local competition, and have to admit they were pretty good. We even had a little crowd watching us while we played. After the game, our group ate dinner and talked about our experiences, which was interesting to hear everyone’s views on things we all experienced.

Anyways, probably need to get some sleep as we have to wake up at 6:30 AM! Stay tuned.


Asia Doss, women’s basketball

Hi everyone my name is Asia Doss and I am on the women’s basketball team. This is Day 2 of our Soles4Souls trip here in Jamaica and so far it’s been amazing. It began early in the morning with a more traditional Jamaican breakfast which consisted of: cabbage with crawfish, dumplings, boiled bananas, and watermelon. After that we were on the road for 2 and a half hours through the mountains to Manchester parish. One of the highlights of the day was the drive up the mountains. The cars drive so close and the turns are so sharp, personally I know I would probably crash a car here in Jamaica they’re real driving pros here.

When we arrived at the school in Manchester all the kids were pumped! In Manchester the group had the chance to wash the children’s feet for the first time. This was a really cool experience because they would just light up when you put their feet in water, some would rub their toes together in it, it was all around a cool experience. A very specific experience I remember at this school were three young girls names Aliyah, Halie, and Nakensie. They were in the third grade and they liked to play “net ball”. It’s very similar to my sport, basketball, and so we all went down and played. At first it was pretty hard because net ball doesn’t have a backboard and my coach always tell me the backboard is your best friend so I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to look bad on my first shot but no worries I actually made it. We were only able to play for a little while and it was fun while it lasted. I lost track of time and one of our tour guides, Junior, had to come get me. They were all sad but they walked me up to the car giving me big hugs and they waved to me in the car until we left the lot. Those were three girls I will never forget because they were some of the only girls so far that I’ve meet in Jamaica that didn’t like soccer instead they liked basketball.

After we left that school we went to our next school in Manchester. This was a school in which our trip leader Kristen’s boyfriend’s mother works at. The school was very nice and they fed us lunch. They greeted us at the car, they had big smiles, and the best part was that it was career day for them. A lot of the children wanted to be teachers, some nurses, and what I found to be interesting was that there were a lot of boys that wanted to be soldiers. They said they wanted to be soldiers because they want to fight crime and protect all their people from “the bad guys”. We were able to give out a lot of shoes and give a lot of smiles. We even had the chance to dance with them. I was all into the dancing.

Overall Day 2 was a success for Soles4Souls! 


Christian Lampasso, men’s ice hockey

Today the team woke up at 7am for a 3-hour bus ride to Manchester Parish. Stepping on this bus at first seemed like a meaningless trip: having to be crammed against the window next to Keita’s 6’7 legs, and everyone half asleep. But for those hours while I stared out the window I ended up coming to some realizations about the world around me.

The scenery was absolutely impeccable, as we snaked through the valleys and mountains of Jamaica, all you could see was green grass and blue sky (with the occasional goatdog). Every once in a while we would stumble past a few poverty stricken homes. When I say poverty stricken, I mean as an American who grew up in a suburb, but first thought is “oh, they must have it hard.” Every house had boarded up windows, rain buckets to catch rain for fresh water, tarps to cover up holes in the roof; trust me the shape of the houses I saw today were rough. All I could think about was “I wish I could do something to help them.” Then I started to notice something, as we would drive past the natives in our bus everyone would wave to us. At first I thought it was a joke, like “ha ha let’s just wave at the tourists.” But as we were wheeling around a deep turn over looking a valley there was a pretty damaged house sitting at the bottom. Outside was a mother holding a small baby in her arms, an older male, and a young daughter. I poked my head out the window and waved to them, and every single one of their faces lit up and they waved back, even the little baby popped his head up and waved (kidding, the infant didn’t wave). All jokes aside that touched my heart so much that even in the position of not having a fraction of the things I have, they were so happy to see me wave. In America if someone waved to you without a doubt you’re going to be “okay, what is this guy doing.” But here in Jamaica, everyone seems to be so happy regardless of the material possessions they have.

Americans can have everything in the world and still not be satisfied. While observing these houses at first I was looking down upon their situation, but now I am coming to realize that these people are content. Yes, they can definitely be in a better situation but the people themselves are so pleasant and genuinely happy. I work with kids in the states and they are nothing like the kids here. Every single kid I interacted with today said thank you, smiled, and was truly appreciative for just getting a pair of shoes. They would always address me as `Sir’ or `Mr’ and there was such a respect for their elders that is completely different from the American culture of children getting mad they didn’t get the newest iPad. The hope and inspiration I see in this kids’ eyes makes me want to become a better person. Even though these kids think I am helping them, they are helping me even more.

The team is two days into this trip and I feel as if I can speak for everyone, we are coming to realize how grateful we need to be for everything we have in life. Be thankful for our family, a place within Ohio State Athletics, and the opportunity to work with Soles4Souls to have this experience. Honestly when people would tell me about their service trips in the past, they were just words in my ears and I didn’t understand. After being able to see and live it, I have an entire new understanding of what it’s like to help people, and a new understanding of myself.

Christian Lampasso


Raekwon McMillan, football

Today was different from the last two days on our mission trip to Jamaica because it didn’t consist of distributing shoes to needy children and families, but it was a day that we took to relax and enjoy the views of the ocean and have an excursion in Ocho Rios. This morning we found a nice Jamaican restaurant with great service right down the street from our hotel that served American breakfast that was actually better than most Americans can cook. Once we got done with our breakfast we headed to Dolphins Cove to begin our excursion.

In Dolphins Cove, a water resort/sea animal attraction, we got a chance to pick from many different activities and interact with different sea animals. We got to swim with the dolphins, watch a shark display, kayak, and also relax on the beach side. Going from distribution to excursion was definitely impactful to me because it gave me the ability to appreciate the little things and make sure I take advantage of every opportunity I had. I took an open mindset to everything we did at Dolphins Cove because this might be my last chance to ever do this and also tried to not be wasteful with anything because their are people who don’t have and wish they could have a small portion of ours.

The second portion of our excursion was going to Dunn’s River Falls and climbing up the waterfall with the Soles4Souls team. Just about 3 days ago we were a group of foreign people to each other that never really spent time together and then when today came we were working together in groups to get past this challenge. The Dunn’s River waterfall climb gave all of us a chance to get active and even gave some of us a chance to face fears and make leaps and bounds in our lives that we usually wouldn’t take risk.  But since we were apart of a team we couldn’t let each other down and at the top of the waterfall you could see smile of accomplishment and big pillars and many peoples’ lives being knocked down because they overcame a fear or obstacle.

Today was an overall success and a day of well needed rest after putting in so much work during the distributions. Although we had time to relax it was actually a good time to reflect and think about how blessed we truly are to be in the position that we are in.


Liz Buerling, pistol

Today was our first day waking up in our new hotel in Ocho Rios. We started our day of adventures by going to a local breakfast stop right around the corner from our hotel. After eating our hot breakfast in even hotter weather we were all ready to hit the water.

Our first stop was going to Dolphin Cove, where we got to lay on the beach for the first time while since arriving in Jamaica; we were all happy to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The hightlight of Dolphin Cove, however, was being able to swim with the Dolphins. For me personally this was a new experience, and it turned out to be everything I imagined and more! Being belly to belly with an animal as they a moving faster then I could ever swim is an incredible feeling. We finished up at Dolphin Cove by swimming with sting rays, holding birds and grabbing lunch.

We then headed to the iconic Dunn’s River, however this name is very deceiving in that it is more of a waterfall then a river. We all got our water shoes on and headed down a long set of stairs to get to the bottom of the waterfall. We all were at the base of the waterfall ready to climb up, looked up and thought “what did we get ourselves into?” This seemed like a much more daunting task then we realized. After many falls, hearts skipping beats, and teamwork we all made it to the top in one piece, maybe just with a couple more bruises.

Next we got a true taste of Jamaican culture by going to a market. Here we got the chance to look around at local goods, while being haggled like never before! Finally our last stop of the day was eating at Mom’s Restaurant in downtown Ocho Rios, where people finally fulfilled the craving of ox tail. With the ox tail falling off the bone I think it’s safe to say everyone had a happy tummy.

Overall I am overwhelmed with the amont of joy this trip has brought me. Being able to do something small by giving kids shoes and seeing the big smiles on there faces makes you realize you want to more. Proverbs 28:27 says ” He who gives to who is in need will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses”. This passage holds very true, by seeing what other people go through puts a new light on the way you live, and not wanting more but giving more. I am blessed to be here and can’t wait to see what else is in store for us. And Go Bucks!


Keita Bates-Diop, men’s basketball

The last couple days have been so good in all that we have done for the kids, and for ourselves. Today was no different in that we started our morning at 8:00 as we walked to a local breakfast shop around the corner from our hotel. They served a typical Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish, but they also served a typical American breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, which some of us also got.

From breakfast we walked back to the hotel in the warm morning weather to pack and get ready for the day. At this point I realized the bus rides have turned into one of the more intense bonding experiences of the trip. We start playing hard and frustrating games, incited by Christian’s game from the previous day, and since we are all competitive we all want to win and figure out the games first. Some of us were still tired and chose to sleep part of the way there while looking at the beautiful scenery surrounding us.

We get to the ice cream shop and everyone is so eager to get out seeing as some of us are pretty big athletes sitting on a bus for 2 hours began to wear on our knees and legs. So we stretch and begin our walk from the warm outside into the cool ice cream shop. There were so many flavors I had never heard of and the workers allowed us to taste most of them just to test them out and all of them were so good it was so hard to decide which flavor to choose from, I chose Rocky River and mango. So then we all chill outside eating our different flavors of ice cream and wait to go on our next excursion.

We then travel a couple more hours to the beach, and this bus ride was just full of mostly tired people, most of us slept for most of the way to the beach. So we get to the beach and everyone immediately gets in their swim suits and just dives straight in and just relaxes for an extended period of time. The two most exciting things about being in the water was the pyramid we tried to make with 6 people. What happened was me, Kwon, and Junior, stood in the water in a triangle type thing, and Michelle, Asia, and Kylie had to stand on all three of our shoulders and form a pyramid, it was almost like a workout for everyone involved having to balance and hold everyone up and at the same time trying not to fall on anyone. The second most exciting part was the music video most of us were involved in; I was pretty impressed with everyone’s dance moves honestly.

The dinner at the beach was absolutely too much, like it was too good, with the options of jerk chicken,  burgers, and whole bunch of other options while also over looking the beach was such a pretty sight.  Then we got a treat at the end of watching a guy play with fire and swallow it and spit it back it, it was mind blowing how that is even possible without causing actual physical harm to the person. but that was pretty much how the day ended after that we came right back to the hotel and that concludes this day.

Be back soon!
Keita Bates-Diop


Lindsay Agnew, women’s soccer

Today was another excursion day since the distributions typically occur during the school day and it was still the weekend. We ate breakfast and after trying a lot of traditional Jamaican food throughout the week, most of us went with the typical American pancakes and eggs from a place within walking distance from our hotel. Then we headed to Kingston which was a couple of hours away, making a few pit stops along the mountains and rainforests for some “Kodak moments” as our bus driver Patrick calls them. Once we got to Kingston we got really good ice cream at Devon House and went on a tour of one of the two universities in Kingston. Our tour guide from Soles4Souls boyfriend’s brother (sorry that is a mouthful) who is attending medical school there, showed us around campus and we got to see the track that Usain Bolt trained on. Then, he showed us some dance moves and Raekwon tried to keep up with his Jamaican skills while Keita, Christian and I talked to a man who told us he was a millionaire from London, Ontario (which is where I used to live) who was dating Anne Hathaway. A lot of the Jamaicans we have met love to mess with us. 

After the tour we headed back to Ocho Rios and went to the beach! The water was beautiful and we had a lot of fun swimming in the water, especially Christian, our very own “rastaman” or as we know him back at OSU “dreadsy”, who has conquered his fear of not being able to swim. Junior, one of our tour guides, also showed us how to do this pyramid thing in the water and Asia, Kylie and Michelle stood on Raekwon, Keita and Junior’s shoulders. It only took them a couple tries (and one failed attempt by me) to do it. We even made a music video as the sun went down and got shown up by a couple of Jamaican dancers. After eating dinner by the beach, the couple that showed us up earlier performed a dance by the bonfire and the boy did a fire dance where he ate and spit out fire. 

Overall, we bonded a lot as a group today and had fun dancing and just being together. The trip is going by so fast and I’m excited to see the kids again tomorrow and do another distribution. Giving out the shoes and playing with the kids is really rewarding and my favorite part. They love soccer which is really cool for me and I love trying to make the girls play because normally it’s just the boys.  I met a couple of budding girl soccer stars though and I told them the boys have to let them play if they’re better then them so I showed them a few moves that I hope they use on the boys. Anyways, I’m so grateful for this experience and I am sad it’s almost over. Go Bucks! 


Kylie Randall, women’s volleyball

Hi everyone! What an amazing way to end our trip! With a few distributions and a few excursions, the day was simply amazing.

This morning we woke up, packed and headed to a Rastafarian medicine man’s farm. We learned all about what it means to be a Rastafarian and also some simple natural remedies from the plants he grew. We got to smell some of the organic herbs he grew like thyme and rosemary, and even watched a local man climb a coconut tree and throw down some. Our tour guide cut up some coconuts and we got to drink straight from the tree. 

On our way back to Montego Bay, we stopped in Fairmont and had lunch. It was awesome to see the transition from the country to the city. Most of us enjoyed hamburgers and fries, and some stuck with the traditional Jamaican jerk chicken. 

After our bellies were full from lunch, we stopped by the hotel to grab a few toys for the children and did two more distributions. The first school we stopped at, the children were much younger then the previous schools we visited. It was beautiful to be back in the schools and getting on with the distributions. The children were all smiles and very excited to see us. After that, we made a quick turn around to the final school. The children were of all ages, but very excited when our bus pulled in. Although we had such a large number of kids, we are happy to say that every child walked away with something from us. From shoes, to tattoos and stickers, we were all excited for the way we ended our last day.  

After our last distributions, we hurried home to shower and headed to our last excursion of the trip: the luminescent water boat tour! It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Any time the water was disturbed, the bay water would light up in the most beautiful blue color. We had a few of us jump in and actually feel the water, and it was crazy to see how the water reacted when we moved. 

Overall this trip was simply life changing. I can’t put anything into words, but all I can do is encourage people to come out and experience it themselves. I am so thankful for this wonderful opportunity, and look forward to doing more service trips like this in the future. 


Billy Price, football

May 16,, 2016 will forever go down as a day that changed my perspective of our world in many different ways.

During my time on this service trip to Jamaica I have had the sole purpose to come and service others while trying to find this newfound perspective that would enlighten my thinking of the world I live in. This historic day started early at 6:30 in the morning as we left the Pineapple Court Hotel near Ocho Rios, Jamaica and had breakfast on the road for we had a long day ahead of us. Our day long journey began as we headed to the Rastafarian Herbal Garden Tour on our way back to Montego Bay. As we initially stepped off the bus we were greeted with the smoldering Jamaican heat and humidity as it was beaming down from a clear blue sky above.  Our tour guide met us at the bottom of the mountain side and instructed us to follow him up a steep hill on the side where if you were close enough to him you could hear the nuggets of information he would share. We learned that the area was called Refuge Trelawney because the slaves would flee to this area and hide in the mountain side during the 18th century before slavery was abolished in Jamaica. Once we began our tour up the mountain side garden, our tour guide shared very practical medical remedies with the herbs that he was growing to demonstrate the significance of using the earth’s natural herbs to cure simple medical issues. Our tour guide, once we reached the top of the mountain side garden, informed us that he was indeed a vegetarian as he lived off the food that he grew in his garden and nothing more. In today’s world to be able to live off the land in which you own is extremely efficient for that individual and virtually cost free.

As we finished our Rastafarian Herbal Garden Tour we had to load up once more on our beloved bus driven by the best driver in Jamaica, Patrick, to venture to a lunch destination in Fairmount, Jamaica called Club Nazz. Once we were seated and had ordered the waiter was in quite shock for the amount of food that was ordered because we had not had a full breakfast like we had on previous mornings. Once all stomachs were satisfied it was time again to load up and move to our next destination which happened to be Patrick’s house where we picked up additional shoes that were to be used during the distributions that we had planned for the day. The first distribution was for a younger aged school that emphasized on children’s ages three to six years old. These young boys and girls were very excited yet timid to see a large group of young adults approach their school bearing shoes to give to each and every student that were present on that day of school. With each distribution there are unique experiences that every student-athlete is able to go through and as well as be able to sit back and watch. Personally being able to watch my fellow colleagues bring joy to young boys and girls brings personal satisfaction knowing that our efforts are changing the lives of the many that are being impacted today. After we were able to give a new pair of shoes to every child there, we packed up our supplies and tools used to do the distribution and headed to the next site that was in need.

As we reached our second school and final distribution site, which was a school with children ranging from 1st grade all the way to 6th grade, our bus had troubles reaching the top of a very steep hill. As requested by Patrick; all passengers had to step off the bus and walk up the hill, which was of course no issue as we are all physically able to walk and in good health, but as we walked up the hill a tree was growing on the right hand side with roots that had created an above the ground web. This tree had been growing there for a very long time and was a staple in the school yards property as kids were known for climbing on it during recess and after school. As we visited each distribution site there has been some type of landmark that’s distinguished itself from another site and brought out the true beauty and uniqueness of the country of Jamaica. Once our focused changed from the tree to the school, the reality of our task set in: this was our last distribution on our seven day trip, we had been awake since 6:30 in the morning as it was now close to 3:30 in the afternoon, physically active in the 88 degree Jamaican heat and humidity, and physically exhausted. Our physical and mental status however had no effect on our motivation to complete our objective to bring service to those in need. We powered through until the very end of the distribution where we then ran out of shoes to give to the children. Running out of shoes to give to the students was emotionally straining as the looks on the eyes of the little boys and girls was devastating because we were unable to do more and give more with the supplies that we had brought. Rather than strain on the idea of we did not do enough for the students we quickly packed up and were able to interact and play with the children before we had to leave. Seeing the smiles on the faces of these young boys and girls truly demonstrated the impact we had made on them today.

To be able to finish our service trip with a strong ending distribution with as little as possible issues was truly a blessing and a reflection of my colleagues and the staff leaders we had during this trip. Kristen Schwartz, Brittany Savko and Cierra Gillison had done a fantastic job leading us and continuing to push us through every possible situation that was thrown at us during this service trip to Jamaica. Overall we had given out 704 pairs of shoes at the six various distribution sites during our time in Jamaica. This experience has given me a new found appreciation for what we are given at Ohio State University as student athletes as well as in America. Any individual on this trip could attest to saying that you simply cannot tell one about this experience but they must experience it for themselves.

Final Day

Miles Johnson, men’s volleyball

Our final morning in Montego Bay started with a traditional American breakfast, because I think everyone consumed enough chicken for an entire year. It was a bittersweet moment waking up knowing that we were flying back to Columbus today. Bitter because the weather is close to perfection, the people are super friendly, and the joy everyone receives from helping these kids is immeasurable. It was sweet because I think everyone is ready to get back to their workout schedule as well as sleep in their own beds.

Attempting to summarize our trip in a concise blog entry does not do it justice whatsoever. Our group reflection last night really made me realize how much of an impact this trip had on every individual within our team. It gave us the opportunity to understand and appreciate how fortunate we are as student athletes at a big time university.

By visiting these schools and helping out these kids, this trip enabled us to become a much closer group of friends rather than just people who had one thing in common. One message that really hit home for me personally came from one of our many tour guides who’s name was Junior. He mentioned how he was inspired and very appreciative that we were in Jamaica helping out these kids in need. However, he said that when we go home and process our experience we need to understand that the ability to help someone in need doesn’t come from traveling to a different country. There are plenty of opportunities within our own backyards to help out less fortunate individuals. Juniors words not only moved me, but I’m confident they inspired everyone else to become more active within their own communities and make a positive impact.