Students from Desert Garden Montessori (DGM) recently visited Costa Rica where they assisted with renovating different schools in impoverished areas.

DGM typically takes a service-based trip every year, where they choose a location that needs assistance around the community.

Students were allowed to vote on where they wanted to visit, and conducted a power-point presentation about where they wanted to visit.

They also worked on raising funds for the trip by hosting various bake sales.

During the Costa Rica trip, students visited three different schools and an orphanage.

Eighth-grader Gabby Ziegler said the trip helped students bound with each other.

“We helped schools that were in need of help, we painted fences, we put down tiles, painted buildings, and helped out the community a lot,” she said. “The best part of the community services was learning how to lay down tile because that was a skill that I wanted to learn, and just knowing that I was able to help out a community that was less fortunate.”

The service-based trip was open to the adolescent program at DGM, which are students in seventh through ninth grades.

“The whole reasoning behind it is to become independent explorers because the Montessori philosophy teaches them to become independent,” said Sindoor Bhakta, who teaches the adolescent program.

Students were involved with different projects during the week trip from painting, laying down tile, yard work to teaching English.

“These are really low-economy areas, so they rely on the community,” Bhakta said. “The kids were able to see what other children don’t have, in comprehension to what they have. That really hits them, and as teenagers, that is something that we really want them to understand about other people’s culture.”

Bhakta said students benefited from the trip by helping others in need and that they saw others were less fortunate.

“We live in a suburban area, so going into these small towns and villages and seeing what others don’t have… that all in all is the benefit,” she said. “I think deep down inside they want to help. For me, it’s rewarding to see these kids, who have everything, are able to see others that don’t have… it’s a learning experience and I think it opens their minds to appreciate life to the fullest.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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