Lending a helping hand abroad
By Liz McCarthy, 803-777-2848
Catherine Buddin didn’t know that her spontaneous decision to travel to Honduras last winter break would change her life. But this year, she’s hoping to have the same impact on a group of USC students.
Buddin, a sophomore exercise science and religious studies major, first heard about Students Helping Honduras on social media. Within a few hours, she had signed up to travel to the Central American country with a group from Clemson University.
“I fell in love with it,” says Buddin, who returned to Carolina and started a chapter of the organization on campus within a few months. “I went and it was so much more than I expected. It really changed my perspective.”
Students Helping Honduras is an international nonprofit started by a college student in his dorm room in 2007. More than 100 college and university chapters now send students to rural Honduran villages to construct schools, build classrooms and provide school supplies throughout the year. Thanks to Buddin, USC is no exception.
“It’s a unique organization. It’s all college students so it’s tailored to college students,” she says. “You come back more globally aware and a more appreciative citizen. You get to experience something you haven’t before while changing the lives of others.”
This year during the winter break, Buddin and 26 other students will be working in Honduras for USC’s first trip with the organization.
“It’s an incredible number for our first trip. We represent a wide variety of organizations and groups on campus,” says Buddin, the chapter’s president. “It’s neat to find a group of people that are so excited about something they don’t know very much about having never been to Honduras.”
For Buddin, the desire to help others began when she took service trips regularly to Salkehatchie Summer Service in high school. There, she says, she developed a heart for mission work.
“It was really neat to see how needs could be met locally with Salkehatchie and globally in Honduras,” she says. “I wanted other students to get to do it, too.”
Buddin hopes to see the organization grow at Carolina.
“I spend a lot of my time on this, but it’s humbling to see so many others interested in it,” she says. “Our goal is to keep growing and to become a more well known organization a campus.”
The group will be traveling during spring break and will be fundraising in the spring to build a bilingual school. For more information, visit the Students Helping Honduras website and interested students can contact the USC chapter via email.
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