Olivia van der Vlugt, a sophomore at CMCP, spent her summer halfway across the world, caring for disabled orphan children during a volunteer service trip to China. Olivia partnered with the Little Flower Foundation and spent three weeks in Beijing, the capital of China, and Baotou in Inner Mongolia caring for babies born prematurely, with birth defects, illnesses, and other complex needs. She spent time caring and playing with the children of the orphanage, whose ages range from young babies to school-aged children.
Olivia discovered this opportunity to make a difference while researching service-oriented summer camp programs. Her favorite, most impactful memory of the trip was spending time with one of the babies in the orphanage, Yen. During one of her visits, Yen reached over to Olivia and held her hand. Also unforgettable were the amazing trips and excursions to the Resonant Sand Gorge, the tomb of Genghis Khan, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.
Olivia earned 100 service hours for her trip. She is currently researching options for her next service trip to a different part of the world where she is sure to experience a new place, a different culture, and an alternative perspective while giving back and contributing Toward a Better World.