Brentwood School Athletic Director Jeaney Garcia has returned from Thailand where she spent six summer weeks leading community service projects and working with orphans.
She was also a dorm mother, otherwise known as Hua Naa Hong (“Head Of The Hong”) and met every day with her students to talk, attend to house-keeping matters, track service activities, and other duties.
“It was incredible to see the eyes of high school students wide open, taking in and embracing new situations that filled everyone’s souls,” she said.
Garcia was selected over hundreds of applicants to work with Rustic Pathways, a provider of travel and service programs for students and families in some of the world’s most welcoming countries. She worked for five weeks in the Ricefields Service Base in Udon Thani.
Garcia ran the “Swingsets and Kiddies” program in the morning and the “Bobbing and Floating” program in the afternoon. The “Swingsets” project provides materials and ongoing support for teachers and children. In the afternoon program, Garcia taught water safety to help prevent drowning deaths that occur when children fall into flooded rice fields.
Garcia said many Thai children have never seen a swinning pool but the program helped children learn basic safety in and around the water as well as how to float, bob, and swim.
One highlight of Garcia’s trip was to spend a week living and working with elephants along with her two boys (Diego, 10, and Santiago, 7) in the jungles of Chiang Mai in northeastern Thailand.