Third in a LoveManifest series on Passionate Youth, meet Chris, a newly graduated senior from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, CA. Chris (along with Avery and Tyler in posts 1 and 2) is the final student to tell of his journey with us into India, and how a “project” can turn into a passion when you introduce the human element.
Chris Moreno – Age 17 – Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa, CA
My personal journey with Wells for Life began when I met Valerie Kumra, my CBSL mentor, at the service fair in the gym. When she told me about what Wells for Life does, and how I would get to travel to India at the end of my project, I instantly fell in love with the idea. I didn’t even have to think twice about whether or not I wanted to support Wells for Life for my CBSL project. I have to be honest, when I first signed up to do this project I was pretty excited about taking a trip out of the country, and hadn’t really thought of anything else. So basically all of my excitement towards this project was centered on the trip I would be taking out of the country at the end of the year.
Once I began talking to my mentor a bit more about the project, and what it is like when you get to India, and how the people respond to your arrival, I started having different feelings towards the project. I began to feel excitement growing about seeing the reaction of the people when my partners and I showed up to dedicate the well we had raised money for. I became excited about the idea of changing a group of people’s lives by giving no more than a little bit of my time and two thousand dollars that it would take to build the well. I learned that I really can find joy in helping others. I learned that my partners and I will not give up on a goal that has been set. Throughout the duration of this project, we suffered through many hardships trying to raise money. I thought that I would get tired of failure and give up, but I surprised myself in that I never lost faith or motivation to continue working towards my goal.
This project impacted my life in so many ways. I used to become very upset when I wanted something but couldn’t have it. I used to constantly ask for more, or want more things in my life. I never understood how much I had in my life. This is before I met the people of India. This was a group of people who lived with nothing compared to what we have in the United States. Kids played in clothes that didn’t fit, or were so worn that they left them exposed. Most kids in India had no toys. These people did not have television, a couch to relax on, or even a comfortable bed to sleep on. Even with all these, what we would call hardships, in their lives, from what I saw they were happier than I am most days.
My experiences with this project taught me to never take anything for granted, and to be happy with what I have because it is so much more than what some people have in this world. I would almost go as far as to say that homeless people in this country have more than people with homes in some of the places where we visited in India. It is shocking to see this, and it has certainly changed my perspective on life.