CGA cadets spend time at unconventional spring break location
By: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Public Affairs
Twenty-three U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets, representing each of the four classes, spent their spring break in a place where few college students go on their one week off from hectic academic schedules.
The group spent time volunteering at an orphanage in Trujillo, Peru.
"This was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had," said Second Class Patricia Ohle. "I am planning to go back in December, I miss the children already. It felt so good to be able to show these children that they are loved and to make them laugh and smile."
Two Academy cadets, who took a sabbatical this academic year to work at the orphanage, alerted the New London Collegiate Ministry (NLCM) about the opportunity for students to volunteer at the orphanage. The NLCM then advertised the trip at the Academy and at other local colleges.
The cadets, who each paid roughly $1,000 each to travel to Peru, undertook a project to renovate and repair the Hogar de Esperansa orphanage's playground. The cadets cleared a large portion of brush, grass, and rocks around the play area. They installed a perimeter of half-buried tires then painted them, fixed the swing sets and sea-saws that were in place. They also built a set of monkey bars, a cargo net, a slide, a tire swing, and two short tunnels for the children to play on.
Once construction was completed the cadets sifted all the sand on the playground to remove rocks and splinters and brought in a fresh layer of finer sand to cover the entire play area.
"The experience in Peru opened my eyes to a whole new world, and emphasized the need to serve and reach out to those in need," said Fourth Class Cadet Cory Fagan. "Peru made me realize that I truly want to live a life of service, not only in my country through the Coast Guard but wherever else I am called to serve."