The summer of 2018 was a memorable one for five Pivot Charter School North Bay students who had the opportunity to embark on an incredible service-learning journey through Kenya.

Cody Burns, Brayden Clopton, Grace Smith, Ben Urquhart, and Chris Osborne raised money throughout the school year and received scholarships so that they could be a part of the Children’s Humanitarian International (CHI) Study Abroad Program. CHI’s Summer Abroad program takes groups of Sonoma and Napa County high school students to the CHI Academy in Kenya for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to encounter a part of the world that few local residents of any age have an opportunity to experience.

This past July, the five Pivot North Bay students, along with other students from the area, traveled to Nairobi where they spent most of their time at the new CHI Academy in a rural area of Kenya. In the morning, students participated in lectures on topics such as the History of Kenya, Global Humanitarian Awareness and Service, and even learned Swahili. Hands-on projects at the newest CHI Academy included the painting of the school, spreading gravel and playing games with the young children.

In addition to working at the CHI Academy, students visited some of the homes of the CHI Academy’s students so that they could experience what it is like living in a developing country, hiked along Mount Longonot, visited a rural village in Masai Mara where they shared in cultural dances with the Masai Tribe and spent a day in Mombasa swimming in the Indian Ocean and learning about the history of one of the oldest port cities in Africa.

The students were also given the opportunity to go on a once-in-a-lifetime safari drive where they saw elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, and many other animals.

CHI’s vision is to create a passionate group of high school students who return home and share their knowledge of the world with others for years to come. The organization’s goal is to build a community of returned participants whose broadened mindset helps them develop exciting new ways to tackle poverty in their local community and around the globe.

If you know of a student in Sonoma or Napa County who may be interested in the CHI Summer Abroad Program, please check out the CHI website for additional information.