Hi, my name is David Bai. I am a rising senior at Riverdale Country School in New York City and spent the last semester at the High Mountain Institute (HMI), a semester school in Leadville, Colorado, located 10,000 feet above sea level. At HMI, I was disconnected to a certain extent, but now that I’m back in New York, I would like to share my exciting summer plans.
From June 16 - July 7, I will be in Botswana to help out at an orphanage called Bana Ba Letsatsi, which means “Sunshine Children.” It also serves as a day care center for children who are abused or neglected. I will be going with other students who are part of the Leadership Exchange, which is a program run by Mr. Crosby, a former Riverdale teacher. Leadership Exchange cultivates relationships with local social service organizations through direct funding and by providing community service trips to better these organizations, help build their infrastructure, and to aid their surrounding communities. (To learn more, visit this website: http://lecommunity.org/)
Each person going on the trip is raising 1500. This money goes directly to helping the children and the families we will be working with. I will be honest, that is a lot. But I don't expect, nor am I asking for, you to donate the whole 1500. Obviously if you did I would be eternally grateful (probably would write you songs and poems and such as well) but I only ask for what you would like to give, what you can give. Every little bit helps! It goes towards empowering impoverished communities in Botswana that are full of orphans and abused children, and plagued with AIDS and malnutrition. All donations are tax deductible.
Thanks for reading, and please donate!
To read more about my personal journey:
When I heard Jay Crosby (the founder and head of the Leadership Exchange, and my 6th-7th grade history teacher) present the Botswana trip, I really wanted to do it but I thought I could not. So, I did not apply. I thought I would be too busy starting the college process and I did not want to selfishly burden my parents. They would want me to be happy and do what I want, but they would not tell me if it was too much to bear. I was certain it would be. So, reluctantly, I told myself to forget about it and braced myself for another dreary, unproductive summer.
But somehow, I ended up talking to my oldest sister about it. Beth convinced me to go for it. At least, she provided the first push. She had done plenty of service work herself: she had done Americorps with at-risk youth in Miami, worked in the city for a non-profit, and is currently volunteering as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America. Sarah, my other sister, has also gone on at least two service trips to Mozambique. They understood the value of service, and service trips abroad, and helped me understand that I was not being selfish in my desire to go on the trip. As long as I approached everything with an open, humble attitude of service, I wasn't being selfish. I would be helping people who need it, while also getting to experience new things (something I personally love).
Getting to this point was not easy, even when I finally recognized that this trip was too important to pass up. I applied a few days after the deadline had passed, and was wait-listed. I swallowed my disappointment and tried to forget about the trip. But then I got the email from Mr. Crosby. I can still remember quite vividly the short message: "David, congratulations! You're in." I was ecstatic, but there is still much preparation to be done.
Namely, I need to raise 1500 in ten days! Any help is appreciated!