Julia Thomas VM17 to Visit Guatemala on Service Trip

Sep 15, 2017

Social justice runs in our family.

Julia Thomas VM17 will be joining a team of 20 others through the Williams Honors College at the University of Akron this January on a service trip to Guatemala.

Thomas wrote to STVM Counselor Emily Boarman about her upcoming trip: "With a world in such turmoil, it is important that we, as co-inhabitants of this earth, care for each other and offer aid to our brothers and sisters who so desperately need it. I truly do owe my passion for service to everything I did while at STVM. I miss it everyday! Thank you for playing a huge role in that. Your passion for service and caring for others is truly inspiring, I hope all of the students at the school see it and are inspired by it as well."

Common Hope is an organization begun in 1986 whose main goals are to provide housing, health care, and education to children and families living in extreme poverty in Guatemala. In many parts of the world, we are very blessed to have access to luxuries such as clean water, stable income/careers, healthy and constant food supply, and education. Those I will be working with in Antigua, Guatemala are not as fortunate. Many families in Guatemala live on $2 a day or less. When the parents cannot work for the day, children miss school, go to work, and bring home their money for that day. Days can turn into weeks, and these children will begin to fall behind in school. Many times, the kids will get so far behind that they must restart the year they were in, or often times do not return to school at all because they cannot afford books and supplies they need. In Guatemala, the high school graduation rate is 17% as opposed to 83% in America. Common Hope aims to lighten these families' loads through building homes, donating school supplies, and providing social work for them. For more information about Common Hope, visit