Seniors Abigail Lund and Davis Mathis were surprised to learn that they had been selected as honorees in the “20 under 20” list of students in local newspaper Atlanta INtown’s January issue. The paper annually recognizes 20 students in the Atlanta area who have gone above and beyond in volunteer and philanthropic work, helping people in the Atlanta community and sometimes in far reaches of the world.
Lund and Mathis were recognized for their work with “Project Esperanza,” a non-profit located in the Dominican Republic. The organization focuses on providing educational and social aide for Haitian immigrants who are living in the Dominican Republic and are unable to find good schooling options.
During the summer after eighth grade, both Lund and Mathis took a leap of faith and travelled to the Dominican Republic on an ICGL trip that worked with Project Esperanza. They volunteered at Cambia Mis Estrellas, a summer camp created by Project Esperanza in Muñoz, and instantly fell in love with their work and the kids there.
“It was good to see that I had actually made a tangible impact on the people,” said Mathis. The next summer, they organized a way to return to the summer camp, teaching vocabulary and music. In 2018, they went the extra mile, creating a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a robotics program they wanted to incorporate into the camp’s curriculum.
Using their combined knowledge of the Spanish language and technology, they provided a robotic challenge for the older kids on their final day at camp. Though they have no concrete plans, they hope to continue volunteering in the future for Cambias Mis Estrellas.