Alumni Spotlight: Cora-Leigh Hutchinson-Gray


I am a sales professional graduated from Florida Atlantic University. I love to travel and am passionate about community service.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because she spent time in Africa in 2015. I promised herself she would go back to serve the community and work with the children. I fell in love with the joy of the children and the culture. In the short time she was there, it inspired her in her life.

Since I’ve has been back she wrote a children’s book based on her experience.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I organized the program on her own with research. I looked into many different types of volunteering organizations and chose this one. I’m so glad I did! I’m very good at researching and finding out what is the best way to travel. This was perfect for me.

This trip was part of my honeymoon and my new husband and I have so many amazing memories of this experience!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

For anyone that is thinking of doing this, if you have any hesitations ask, the program coordinator. They are great at answering your questions. Listen to what they tell you and go with an open mind and heart. It will be more fulfilling then you can possibly imagine if you go with an open heart.

Make sure you bring antibacterial soap, wash your hands, and keep yourself healthy as you may be exposed to germs your not use to.

Have fun most of all you are doing something that will change your life take the time to learn about the culture.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

If you are going to work in a school, your hours will reflect the school hours.

Take the time to prepare food if you are there for lunch, and bring water. The schedule will be planned out before the week starts. The schedule is rigorous as you are setting the example for the kids! The other volunteers that have been there before you are a big help and show you around. It was easy to get used to the schedule fast!

The day is full of fun and discovery!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was where we were going to be. I was afraid that we would not have the necessary daily needs like water and electricity. But my passion and desire to go there did not stop me and I’m so glad I didn’t let fear overtake me! I knew I was going to do this because I wanted to understand another culture.

Make sure you’re grounded on why you are going and what it is that inspired you to go. This will support you in overcoming fear! Ask questions about anything you don’t know! Educate yourself and be prepared!

What would you have done differently?

There is nothing I would have done differently for this trip. It was so organized ahead of time; everything went smooth.

Our first day, the moment we walked in the school and all the children were so excited to see us, I knew I was in the right place. The love they gave us right away filled my heart with joy! Every child is special and unique. Spending time with them and being part of their growth is priceless.

I can’t wait to go back and volunteer again!