This upcoming February, I have the phenomenal opportunity to participate in an international exchange program and travel to Barcelona, Spain for ten days. I have taken Spanish classes for the past six years and this is my chance to see how much I really know. The program is run through my high school and there is going to be a total of 16 students and two teachers travelling together. Each student is paired with a host family to stay with for the ten days. We will have a chance to attend classes at their school, experience the culture, taste foreign cuisine, and attend all of the tourist destinations. After our trip, the students that we stayed with will travel to the U.S. for ten days in April and have the same experience we did.
I have been waiting for a chance like this my entire life but in the past two years, my family has had some unfortunate occurrences that are making it hard for this dream to become a reality. In June of 2012, my mother was diagnosed with cancer- a form of leukemia called Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. She was initially in the hospital for almost 40 days and has been in and out ever since. She is now doing much better and has limited visits to once every three months but it is still difficult. Whenever she is in the hospital, my father takes time off from work to be with my sister and I as well as visit her. The hospital is 45 minutes from where we live and traveling there a few times a week takes a lot of gas and money. My father, a firefighter in New London, has also been out of work after a knee injury. Although he is now back to work on light-duty, the time taken off is still a burden financially.
Now let me tell you a little bit more about me. I am a member of my school's Drama Club. We are a group of around 60 students who put on one play and one musical each year. There are multiple groups within the club and I specifically work with set construction and painting. Also, I have worked with multiple fundraising organizations. First, there is the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Alongside my father and sister, we host Fill-the-Boot fundraisers by standing in the middle of the road holding firemen's boots and asking passing cars for donations. Don't worry though, we wear neon vests and are safe! My family also participates with a group called Colors for a Cause. They are based in Louisiana, spreading awareness for childhood cancer and supporting families who have a child with cancer. The organization helped my family when my mother got sick and we continue to help them with their mission. As I enter college and the working world, I would like to work with a Special Education program. I am currently taking classes working with children and have always been good caring for them. I have watched family, friends, and peers struggle with disabilities and would like to be the voice for children who don't have one. Whether I am running a program or working alongside a child, I know I will be happy as long as they benefit.
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