Cristo Rey Brooklyn & Dallas Team Up In Caserio Sarajmac, Guatemala

How do I start? Well, first of all, this experience was definitely an unforgettable one. From the kids of the community, to the ladies that fed us everyday, to the cement bags that I couldn’t carry or hold properly and then eventually carried by myself; this experience was truly amazing. This experience really showed me that I don’t need my phone or wifi to survive, that I just need to look at my surroundings and actually enjoy the moment. At the beginning it was a little hard for me because things were not going the way that I wanted them to go, however I pushed myself to work hard and to make friends, and I came back to New York being friends with all the kids from Cristo Rey Dallas. I had conversations with representatives of peace corps and courts for kids, my teachers, teachers from Dallas, the kids of the community, etc… and each and everyone of those conversations marked me. I loved this experience. Traveling to another country, eating different foods,climbing mountains, pushing myself to work hard, listening to the kids talking and watching the kids playing around, being able to connect with a lot of people that I never thought I would. This are some of things that I loved about this amazing experience. And I wouldn’t think twice if they offered me to go on this adventure again.  – Emely Alvarado, Cristo Rey Brooklyn

In all honesty, I cannot explain how happy I am because I was able to be in this trip with the fellow CRD kids. Since day one it was hardwork with the students and the community members. At first we started off slow but as soon as we got the hang of it, there was no stopping us. The work wasn’t the only factor of why I enjoyed it so much. The whole culture difference was exhilarating. The different food, the environment, and the people were able to open up our eyes and take off us our “modern lifestyle”. We visited ancient Mayan ruins, we learned history, and we explored beyond our own local community. Building relationships with a completely different school, and a group of people of different background was what changed us the most. If I had to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat.  – Josue De Los Santos, Cristo Rey Brooklyn

“I can now see that some situations [in life] are like sand and rocks, I can choose to change them and make them into something beautiful and useful!” – Kate

“With all of the negativity in the media these days, this trip has shown me that the world really is beautiful…. Two worlds can come together and beautifully and create a lasting bond.” – Emma

“I have become extremely grateful for the things… that I have to work for because the work that I do doesn’t compare to the amount of work the men and women of San Jose encounter every day.”  -Katherine

“On this trip I was able to see that happiness comes out of love.  Spending time with the locals and my peers helped me see [that].  I will go back home and spend more time with family.” – Andrea

“My favorite memories of the trip came from being able to build close relationships with the locals…. They were so grateful when we should’ve been the grateful ones for being welcomed into their community and being treated as one of their own.” – Kenneth

“I learned that even with all of the different cultures in the world, if we really put aside our differences and we looked at each other like human beings then there really wouldn’t be any violence in the world.  We are all looking for the same thing: happiness.  We all want what’s best for the future generations and sometimes we let things like hate, pride, and jealousy drive us away from that goal.” – Jasmin

“It’s funny because you would think that after 5 courts that things would be repetitive, but that is not the case!  This year I feel like I much more fully understand the importance of true and genuine human interaction. In our society this is not valued highly enough, when you remove yourself from the distractions that a smart phone and social media can bring then it’s funny how quickly you come to value that human interaction.” – Andrew, Cristo Rey Brooklyn teacher and 5-time Courts for Kids alumni