In September 2019, six IMG employees volunteered to represent the company for the 2020 School the World corporate service trip. School the World is a social good organization that is focused on solving extreme poverty through the power of education by building schools in impoverished countries. Each year, they host a number of social good trips including a corporate trip where multiple companies join forces to participate in their mission.
In preparation for the 2020 trip, IMG's six employees spent the next several months raising over $10,000 to contribute towards the project. Then, in early 2020, the team traveled to Guatemala and spent the week building a school and playground, teaching the children, visiting homes within the community, and celebrating the dedication of the new school. We are proud of our IMG team members and everything they accomplished for the community of Sector Castor.
We interviewed two of IMG's volunteers, Georgette and Jessica, to learn more about their experience.
Jessica: Stepping into the classroom on the last day and seeing all the desks set up with the mural in the background was an amazing feeling. I had instant tears walking through the door and, throughout the final day, I was full of emotions each time the kids ran in so excited to learn. Knowing that we had a part in changing their future – that we will always be part of their history – it’s incredible. We created a very strong bond with the kids in such a short time. I think we all ended up with a special little friend at the end of the week.
Georgette: I really enjoyed spending time with the children, families, and workers of Sector Castro. It was so fulfilling to be able to create relationships and live and breathe in their environment. You could really see the need and appreciation for what was being done on a level that most people don’t get to experience. To be able to work alongside them, live in their shoes, and see the pure joy of what was accomplished, while also being greeted each day with beaming smiles, hugs, and even small tokens of appreciation were the most rewarding.
Jessica: Saying goodbye was by far the hardest part of the trip. We all bonded with this community, and I think we all felt we could do more and wanted to stay longer.
While our project was to build a school, which we completed, this trip opened our eyes to more needs of the community. Something as basic as clean water or one meal a day should not be taken for granted. We learned that there is much more for us to do to make the world a better place. We have so many privileges, and we should be using them to help others in need. We hope that through this new space for education (and a little love) we helped create a foundation for brighter futures for these young children. They needed us to ‘be there’ – with no commercial gain – with no ulterior motives – with only love, and it was very fulfilling to be a part of that.
Georgette: The hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone. Our entire team connected very easily and chose to really immerse ourselves in every aspect of the culture. We had built so many lasting relationships that we made a pact to return. You could also see the emotion from the children when we had to leave. The uncertainty of if they would really ever see us again and the impact we all made on one another was prevalent. It reminded me that sometimes we make life much more complicated. Family is so important and so is community, because when we all come together, the community becomes our family. The simple fact that we are alive and healthy should be enough of a reason for us to wake up joyful every day and appreciate the simple things in life. We should always be thankful for what we have and that materials are not what’s important. And lastly, when we all come together with peace and love, we can accomplish amazing things.
Jessica: We have members who travel to remote areas often. They may not speak the native language nor understand the native customs. They could quickly find themselves feeling uneducated and disadvantaged. In these instances, ‘being there’ for a member is more than just going through the motions, but rather providing hope to someone who feels lost and alone. It is about connecting with the member when they are afraid and need help. It is about compassion and going above and beyond what is required. It is about being innovative and finding solutions to provide our members with the support they need.
Georgette: At IMG, we cater to a wide variety of members and clients from all over the world. The needs of a corporate client may vary vastly from that of one of our mission groups or educational institutions. In addition to the requirements of the company signing the contract, we also become advocates for all their employees and, as a result, their respective families. At that point, we take on the obligation to work to understand everyone’s individual needs, even at times when they don’t know exactly what they may be asking for themselves.
I really feel so blessed to come from a diverse background, where I have seen first-hand how communities struggle to provide the luxuries many people have in more developed nations around the world. This trip allowed us all to walk in their shoes and understand the difficulties they face every day. This trip allowed me to further my compassion as well as my focus to always put myself in someone else’s position when they are reaching out to me for help. It's a simple solution and always so important for us to understand the members' individual needs.
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