Lia, 19, was adopted from Guatemala and wanted to know more about her birth country. On her first trip back to Guatemala, when she was 15 years old, she visited Mil Milagros’ communities with her mom, which she recounts as being a life-changing experience.
How did you learn about Mil Milagros?
Our family friend, Pauline, visited Mil Milagros in Guatemala and she told my mom all about it. My mom was very intrigued and interested and then, of course, I was interested to come down and see what it was all about.
What inspired you to get involved with MM?
Being adopted from Guatemala gives you a much greater sense of wanting to learn more about where you’re from. I had so many questions that my mom couldn’t answer. That was really the first aspect of wanting to be involved, wanting to know more about myself. Then, when you see all the little children that Mil Milagros is helping and go to all the different schools it kind of strikes a chord in you. It made me want to do more. People ask me, "Do you ever think about yourself as one of those kids?" and my answer is, ‘of course, all the time!’ When you think about how many things we take for granted and you see how grateful the children are for everything they have, it gives you a greater sense of wanting to give back.
What do you like most about MM?
One really vivid memory I have is bringing the little containers of floss and watching how excited the kids were. I realized how we can make such a big impact on these communities. These are people that do not take things for granted and really appreciate what they have. It is a lot to take in at first but it’s something that’s always going to stay with you. It’s such a beautiful thing to witness. It’s life-changing.
Before beginning medical school, Ben was looking for a volunteer opportunity to broaden his horizons. He spent four months with Mil Milagros in 2016, assisting with communications and creating health campaigns for the children.