This summer, recent Hobart and William Smith graduates Innis Baah ’10 and Mariza Pereira ’10 will volunteer in Costa Rica with Rustic Pathways, a company that specializes in international group trips for high-school age students.
Baah and Pereira will mentor and supervise a wide age range of high-school students, locals and exchange students from the United States.
Currently a full time work-study volunteer at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute, a Buddhist school in Berkley, Calif., Pereira will spend the second half of her summer in Costa Rica with Rustic Pathways.
Pereira first learned about Rustic Pathways through the weekly e-mails sent by the Salisbury Center for Career Services, though she is familiar with this type of program. Last year, she spent three months in Puerto Rico, working with indigenous peoples on a reservation, as well as leading “Young Explorer” trips around the countryside, surfing, horseback-riding and building a school.
“The trip last summer was great because our kids got to interact with and learn from the local Puerto Rican children,” says Pereira.
This summer, Pereira will take on new challenges with the conservation program for the endangered green sea turtle. The program, which has a 90 percent success rate, takes turtle eggs and incubates them in areas safe from predators. Pereira, along with Baah, will also oversee a leadership program for high school-aged students from the United States. In turn, the students they mentor will set up a day camp for the local Costa Rican youth.
Baah will also be responsible for leading groups of young students on expeditions such as the “Soccer and Service La Paz” trip, a nine-day journey that combines community service and soccer playing.
“Working with youth is an excellent way to have fun and enrich the community at the same time,” says Baah.
This is not the first time Baah has served while abroad. During his semester abroad in Hong Kong, in addition to studying Mandarin and economics and playing soccer with local students, Baah volunteered with Helpers for Domestic Helpers, non profit organization that provides free paralegal advice, counselling, and guidance for foreign domestic workers.
Baah, who graduated with a double major in economics and Africana studies, was also the recipient of a scholarship awarded by the Council on International Educational Exchange and the Korea Foundation. The scholarship, which was only received by 75 students nationwide, allowed Baah the opportunity to travel to Seoul, South Korea during spring break 2010.
When he was not travelling the globe, Baah could be found on campus as a Residential Assistant, as well as in his roles as president of both the Hobart senior class and Sankofa, the HWS Black Student Union. Through Sankofa, Baah helped raise money for Haiti relief efforts, scholarships for Geneva High School students attend college and many other causes. After serving this summer, Baah hopes to start graduate school in the fall and work toward his M.B.A.
Pereira, who is originally from Portugal and holds a dual citizenship, graduated with a degree in philosophy. In her first year at HWS, she spent the summer working with International Student Advisor Kay Kelly to prepare the orientation for new incoming international students. After Rustic Pathways, she plans to return for another six months at Nyingma and to apply for graduate school and a Fulbright Scholarship.