Alumni Spotlight: Janine Lameiras

Janine Lameiras is from Toronto, Canada and is currently finishing high school and planning to attend college in the fall. Janine is 17 years old and plans to become a photojournalist one day. She participated in the July 31st- August 9th GLA Guatemala trip in 2012 and is hoping to go on another GLA trip this coming summer. She enjoys taking photos, working and traveling.

Three women in Guatemala

Why did you decide to volunteer with GLA in Guatemala?

Janine: Since I could remember, I have always felt as if I was meant to change the world. I really wanted to learn all about the different countries, cultures and people in our world. Last year, my friend and I felt as if it was time for us to do something crazy and life changing, something that we had never done before. With the thought in our minds, we researched places that could take us where we wanted to go ; Guatemala. As soon as we saw the Global Leadership Adventures site, we were sold right away. They made the experience so real right from the start and had everything we were searching for. I truly felt that GLA offered things that other organizations did not, such as the adventures and the cultural aspects.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Janine: In Guatemala, our volunteer experience took place at a local school. When we arrived, we would gather up and plan our day and our goals. As the morning would progress, we would paint our targetted rooms and when reccess came, we had the time of our lives! Each day we got to spend time with the children whether it was playing soccer, hand games, piggy back rides and even teaching them how to paint and talk english. Our days were always brighter once we got to the school! The children really did impact my life and I strongly believe that goes for everyone on that trip.

What made this experience unique and special?

Janine: I feel that this trip was so much more exciting because for a lot of us, this was our first time out of the country or first time away from our families. It was truly a sense of adventure from the start. Secondly, I believe the culture and people of Guatemala made this experience so unique and special. We all got to see the contrast between people in our society compare to theirs and see the beauty that they have to offer. I got to see such beauty within the people.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Janine: I knew that going to Guatemala was going to impact me a lot because this was something I had always dreamt of as a child and now it was becoming a reality. There are so many reasons as to how Guatemala impacted me but it mostly comes down to the people of Guatemala who impacted me. They truly gave me a new outlook on life, to appreciate what we have and even if we don't have it all, to be happy. The people of Guatemala are so happy and it never mattered if we couldn't speak Spanish. Personally, I believe now days I look at things so much differently because of that experience. Guatemala has helped inspire me to continue my love for change. Next year, I plan to attend college for journalism and I feel as if Guatemala really inspired me to do that with my life. It made me realize that I want to get the stories of those who struggle but love life out and to help with my words, as much as possible.