MADISON, Conn., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 12 students and five staff members from The Grove School, a co-ed, therapeutic boarding school for adolescents in Madison, Conn., completed a service trip to El Salvador during spring break as a part of the school's Winter ASTEE (Alternative Site Therapeutic and Educational Experience)programming. In its third year, the El Salvador trip immersed students in the local culture and helped them to work through their own social and emotional challenges while giving back to those in need.
"This trip changes the way you look at the world. I used to get upset that I didn't have the newest iPod; now I am grateful that I have food, water, and a place to sleep every night," said Josh Kivijarv, Grove School Senior from Greenwich, CT.
During the trip, students lived and volunteered in small villages in San Salvador (through Project FIAT (Faith In Action Together)) helping to nurture malnourished and abandoned children at a local orphanage, constructing a nursery school for the village, painting a school building, and organizing after school activities for children. Students also had the opportunity to eat native meals, visit local markets, attend performances of indigenous music and dance, and observe and/or participate in religious ceremonies during their time abroad. This unique global adventure offered students an opportunity to gain a new perspective on the world and provide service beyond self while learning about themselves and others, all of which are cornerstones of Grove School's unique ASTEE program.
"It was inspiring to see our students who are accustomed to receiving services be so willing and open-minded in providing services to the people of El Salvador. El Salvador is truly a special place and will undoubtedly be a memorable and life-changing experience for both the staff and students that attended the ASTEE trip," said Alex Klein, Residential Administrator and trip leader.
Through its ASTEE program, Grove Schools challenges students to work together in a novel setting that motivates them to take appropriate risks and learn new skills. For Grove's students, many of whom face social and emotional challenges that have interfered with their performance in school and ability to develop and sustain meaningful relationships, this is a unique opportunity for learning and personal growth that is unlike any in-classroom or on-campus experience. These opportunities, which Grove School has been offering to students for more than 20 years, strengthen students' sense of community while helping them to build new and meaningful relationships with their mentors and peers.
"I have been lucky enough to attend this trip twice. The greatest reward is to observe our students as they realize they are making a difference. I can't wait to go back," said Mike Black, Residential Administrator and trip leader.
As a result of Grove School's annual service trips to El Salvador, many students have returned to El Salvador and Project FIAT with their families and their local communities on school vacations throughout the year. Some students have been inspired to pursue related studies during college and provide ongoing support for global communities. Alexandra Raleigh, a Grove School and El Salvador ASTEE alumnus and current junior at the University of Connecticut, is pursuing a summer internship with the US State Department in Belgium. A political science and psychology major, Raleigh's time abroad as a Political Economics Intern will augment her degree.
To learn more about Grove School's signature ASTEE program for adolescents with social, emotional and learning challenges, visit www.GroveSchool.org.
Media Contact: Danielle Cyr | 860.676.4400 | [email protected]
SOURCE Grove School