BMWK: Can you share maybe something about how the experience impacted the girls that went to Belize with you?
Tracey: It’s interesting because it isn’t always immediate, especially in children. So no child came up to me and told me what the trip meant to them although they did tell me how much fun they had and even gave me a surprise gift before they left. Now I did get a love letter from Shannon about how much she missed me, but that was more about how she connected with me and what I’m about. I think that the signs of growth is something that might come later, especially with children.
I had one mother say to me, “My daughter told me last night that she thinks that God sent you to her”. I told her, “I think that God sent me to her as well’. I don’t even know what to do with that sometimes since it’s so precious and emotional. But so far I haven’t heard from any of the moms about how any of the girls have grown yet. But it’ll happen.
If you ask the girls, they will tell you that the highlight of the trip was going to the orphanage. They were tasked with raising $100 each because I believe in the power of crowd funding…even on a small scale. So those six kids brought their money orders and presented them at the orphanage. We spent the day there and they played with the kids. One of the interesting things was that when it was time to go, they didn’t want to leave. The orphanage doesn’t have computers so a couple of them are actually going to be penpals. It’s so old school but it’s so sweet. So I hope they follow through with that.
One of the girls, Jazmyne, started a blog called the Search 4 Empathy. I had a conversation with her about the photo session with National Geographic. She’s a budding photographer, so she got to assist them with the pictures. That was a great opportunity for her and of course now, her picture is being spread all over the place since it was used for the article.
Another one of the girls, Shannon, is raising money to go on my Paris trip. What that did for me, as there’s growth for me too, is make me create a space every year, where I will have one slot for a low income participant. I am doing what I can to help her raise the money to go, but she has to take the lead and put in the work. I got her to Belize. Now let’s see if her new-found wanderlust gets her to Paris.
Thank you Tracey for all that you are doing to help our underserved girls, and for giving a lot of us a new perspective on travel for our children.
You can find out more about her Passport Party Project, as well as make a donation by clicking here. You can connect to Tracey via Facebook (Passport Party Project and OBG Adventures) and Twitter as well.
BMWK: What are your thoughts on traveling abroad with or without your children?