Lauren's Volunteer Teaching Trip

Wow! These past few months have been challenging, but so rewarding! God has placed on my heart, the need to share my testimony with the world and to assist and inspire others who may be fighting various silent battles.  On Friday October 10, 2014, my blog, The Gem Within, was launched.

The purpose of The Gem Within is to document and share my journey with the hope that this journey will assist others. I also hope that you will join me in an effort to find their gem within. Finding The Gem Within is a continuous journey that includes much more than reflections and personal stories. It is a place where I will share my past and future experiences and how they impact my journey. At 22, I never knew so many other young adults were silently suffering. Since the launch of The Gem Within I’ve had many people reach out to me sharing their own silent battles. To whom much is given much is required. God has not only given me the courage and the grace to overcame many of my own silent battles but he has given me a voice to share what so many other young people are battling silently.

As a part of this journey, I have decided to embark on an adventure that would further assist me but more importantly, assist me in helping others. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

After researching many organizations and programs I decided on a volunteer opportunity in Italy. On January 8th, I will be embarking on a new journey, and moving to the Piedmont Region of Italy for three months to be a youth volunteer teacher for the Green Heart Travel organization. While In Italy, I will be devoting much of my time to volunteering with youths, blogging, and exploring the European Continent, adventures that I believe will further impact my journey and the journey of others.

I am so incredibly excited to immerse myself in a new culture and new way of life and at the same time, helping others and allowing God’s message to shine through me.  I believe that being exposed to others and different worlds help to shed a light on who one is.

I hope that my trip can serve as inspiration for young people; that life is so much greater than our problems. Though we all have trials and experience challenges, there is so much beauty in life. Life is a journey; our challenges and trials do not define who we are. It is only through Him that we will find our identity, purpose, and gifts. Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

As a recent college graduate, I have taken time off to facilitate this journey before initiating the other part of my studies. I hope that after this year, I will return to graduate school to pursue a career in clinical psychology, and continue my journey of assisting others.

 The program provides some assistance and living arrangements; however, the majority of the financial expenses fall on the volunteer. Your assistance in helping to fund the journey is greatly appreciated. I ask that you give whatever you can to help me fund this journey and that you also share it with friends and family.

You can view the program at:

Thank you to all: Those who support me by simply reading and sharing my message and those who are able to give financially.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog to stay abreast of what I do.

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Lauren Johnson 
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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