At HELPS, we often tell volunteers that when you serve with us in Guatemala, the life you change may be your own. Service can change the way we see our world and the way we see ourselves, helping us become more grateful, joyful and purpose-driven. We believe in the transformative power of service, and we love sharing it with others. That’s why we’re especially excited about our new partnership with Cornerstone Crossroads Academy, a second-chance high school in South Dallas. Eight students and four faculty from CCA will join us from April 21-28 to travel to the Western Highlands of Guatemala for what will be the school’s first-ever international mission trip. The students will spend their days installing a total of 51 ONIL stoves and water filters in rural homes, spending time with local families, and learning about the culture and history of Guatemala. Cornerstone Crossroads Academy was founded in 2006 to serve young people who had given up on their dream of graduating from high school for a variety of reasons. Their mission is to develop urban youth through transformative education, equipping future leaders to impact their communities for Christ, and to date, more than 104 students have graduated from the school! There are currently 23 students attending CCA, ranging in age from 16 to 25. As part of the process of selecting students to become part of their community development team, student completed essays about what service means to them. Here’s part of what two students wrote: “Serving someone means helping someone out of the kindness of your heart and expecting nothing in return. Serving on a mission trip is something I’ve always wanted to do. I want to know what it’s like to serve families that are not as fortunate as we are.” -Serena “I grew up poor and have gone through many situations in life like other less privileged people around the world have been through. I too have cooked on open flames like the people of Guatemala do because my family couldn’t afford the light bill going up due to an electric stove or the cost of propane for a gas stove. I’ve slept in houses without roofs and eaten expired food for years. I’ve slept on the floor for years at one point, and all of those things I’ve also experienced here in America…I feel their pain and would like nothing more than to help everyone I can.” – Fermin CCA is fundraising for the cost of their trip, including things like helping all the students get passports and ensuring they all have luggage and enough clothing for the week. You can make a tax-deductible donation toward CCA’s trip with HELPS via HELPS International’s donate page at donate.helpsintl.org (please write CCA in the comments section) or on their website.