There isn’t a better way to start the New Year off than to travel more than 3,000 miles way and dedicate seven days worth of hard labor to improve the lives of others.
Keith Boone, principal of E. C. Best Elementary School, is doing just that.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” he said pf his trip to the Dominican Republic.
A longtime member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESPF), Boone has seen fellow friends and members embark on the same opportunity just a few years ago.
Boone said ever since seeing friends go on the trip from a few years back he has been moved to follow in the same footsteps. Last year while at the NAESPF conference, he decided to take his chances and fill out an application to volunteer to Build a School sponsored by Lifetouch pictures.
“I filled out an application and just forgot about it,” Boone said. “It didn’t cross my mind until Lifetouch called and told me I was one of the lucky ones selected for the projects.”
According to Lifetouch, the leading national provider of school and family photography, they organized this trip and invited school administrators, principals, educators and PTA members throughout North America to work alongside Lifetouch volunteers and Dominican nationals to build the school.
Boone said out of 350 applicants only 25 educators were selected.
“What are the odds of that? I’m one of the lucky 25,” he said.
He continued by saying not only was he picked out of a large group of educators but he is the first educator to come from Nevada.
On Jan. 21, Boone will set out to Constanza, Dominican Republic, the third Memory Mission to Constanza. Once there he and the 24 other volunteers will begin to build a second story to the already existing school. Boone said the framework for the second floor is already completed so they will go ahead and start to finish that project.
The Memory Mission which is what the trip is referred to will consist of several different projects for the volunteers some of which are block and concrete work, stucco and paint finishing for the classrooms.
Boone said he couldn’t be more excited about his up coming trip.
“This will be the first time that I will be traveling internationally, I had to get a passport,” he said. “I feel like this will be an eye opening experience for me. I imagine I will be learning a lot while I’m there, from my coworkers to the locals and their culture. All around it’s going to be a positive experience.”
According to Lifetouch, participants will also have an opportunity to visit community members and participate in a day of photography for the children in the village, many of whom have never seen a photo of themselves.
Lifetouch also said since the inception of the Lifetouch Memory Mission in 2000, Lifetouch hands have helped rebuild a village in war-ravaged Kosovo, repair homes in Appalachia, establish a children’s center in Jamaica and construct a bridge in the land of the Navajo in Arizona. They have built 11 schools across Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Memory Mission volunteers have also provided on-site assistance to victims of natural disasters throughout the United States, including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, floods in the Dakotas, fires in California, and tornadoes across the Midwest.
Boone said not only will the trip have a positive impact on him or the children he will be helping, but it will also have a positive impact on his children who will be back in Fallon.
“My children will be able to communicate with me on a daily basis through Google Hangout,” Boone said. “They’ll be able to track my progress and everything that we’re accomplishing. It will be a great experience for them as well.”