Three Santa Monica students will leave for three weeks in Sri Lanka on Friday to take part in a community service in the aftermath of last December’s devastating tsunami.
The three students are Laurent Sander Grill, 16, a junior at Crossroads School, Mariza B. Lockhart, 15, a sophomore at Santa Monica High School and Gether Gibson, 17, a Santa Monica High School junior.
All of them are youth volunteers for the Santa Monica chapter of the American Red Cross. They and seven other Southern California students are being sponsored by Relief International – Schools Online (RI-SOL) with the assistance of the local Red Cross chapter.
Participants were selected by a RI-SOL panel. The selection process included a written essay, letter of recommendation and personal interviews.
Relief International – Schools Online is a Los Angeles- based non-governmental organization that has provided emergency, rehabilitation, developmental services and education and communication technologies to classrooms around the world,
All costs of the trip, including pre-departure orientation, travel expenses and airfares for both students and adult chaperones, are covered by a private financial grant through Relief International – Schools Online.
All ten students have undergone an intensive pre-departure orientation including a team building weekend through Outward Bound. They also attended interactive workshops that included leadership building, cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural understanding, group working relationships, overview of international development, disease prevention and American Red Cross sponsored CPR and first aid training as well as a seminar on international volunteerism.
Jerry Washington, the Santa Monica chapter’s Director of Volunteers and Youth Services, one of five adults who will accompany the students to Sri Lanka, said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for some bright, hard-working kids to experience a part of the world they would normally never see and to help build a bridge of friendship and understanding between the peoples of Sri Lanka and Santa Monica.”
Once in Sri Lanka, the group will tour the tropical island, located off the East coast of India and participate in a full itinerary of classes, dialogues with diverse groups, cultural exploration and community service with indigenous RI-SOL partners such as the Center for Peace Building and Reconciliation.The students will return to Los Angeles on July 23.