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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Lutheran chapter.

Kim Ball is a senior at Cal Lutheran majoring in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health Professions. During her spring break, Kim participated in the Alternative Spring Break to Puerto Rico, read on to learn about her amazing experience!

                                                                    All Photos Courtesy of Kim Ball

When asked why she decided to apply for the Alternative Spring Break, Kim said, “Having the physical and emotional desire to help make a difference in people’s lives who were affected by Hurricane Maria and other natural disasters that were taking place simultaneously, was what really solidified my decision on applying. It broke my heart to see the devastating impact it had on these innocent people after it took place. This 2018-2019 school year has already taught me to not limit myself and to go with the flow of what I desire on accomplishing. The mindset is, ‘if it doesn’t happen after putting in the effort, then it was not meant to be.’ When the Alternative Spring Break trip was advertised on going to Puerto Rico, I figured this was my chance and applied without hesitation.”

Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: What does giving back mean to you?

Kim Ball: ‘Giving back’ does not just mean to help out another person for whatever reason, or to ‘give back’ as in repaying someone for a favor that they have done for you. To me, ‘giving back’ means to willingly help anyone with a humanitarian passion from your heart because you want the outcome of what you’ve done to have a purposeful long-lasting effect towards who you are helping. “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou

HCCLU: What would you say was the highlight of your experience?

KB: There is a handful of highlights from this remarkable experience, but ultimately it would have to be when we personally met the family we were helping restore their home. This highlight made everything so much more personal and intimate, and it gave everything a deeper meaning, especially by the end of the week when relationships and connections were naturally made.

HCCLU: What did you exactly do in Puerto Rico?

KB: We ate a ton of delicious food, worked at the worksite the majority of the day, and figured out what we all wanted to do for the rest of the evening. All I can exactly say is… what happens in Puerto Rico, stays in Puerto Rico.

HCCLU: Did this make any perspective of yours change? If so, how?

KB: Definitely! You go on the trip only knowing what you are informed with from the media and so forth, but when you are actually there, boy it sure is something else. For instance, we visited the city called Yauco, and there is an area there called Yaucromatic, where houses were painted in vibrant colors and you can even see it from afar. These houses were specifically those that were either demolished by Hurricane Maria or still standing in need of more repairs to be back to the condition they were in prior to the tragedy, mind you Hurricane Maria took place about two years ago. The houses that were demolished still had the ruined furniture in the same area where they were during the hurricane. So just putting it into perspective where that home owner visits the lot where their house is destroyed and thinking of it in retrospect as in, “Wow, I can’t believe we were sitting on that couch when the hurricane hit” really hits hard. It was surreal when being mindful and taking it all in while being there.

HCCLU: How did it feel going with your fellow CLU peers?

KB: We were such diverse group that complimented one another and we all got along and bonded amazingly. Many friendships were created that feel long-lasting, we even have a group chat!

HCCLU: Did you imagine the experience to be how it was?

KB: This experience was better than I thought it was going to be. Having the opportunity to be a part of the actual culture that Puerto Rico values a lot was a blessing; the music, people, and the sense of family, unity, and community that you feel when being in the crowd was moving.

HCCLU: Overall, would you recommend other students to apply for the alternative spring break?

KB: I highly recommend other students to apply! If you get a spot, then you’re golden! If not, then reapply for the next alternative break that comes up! You will not regret it!

Leslie Madrigal

Cal Lutheran '20

Hello, my name is Leslie Madrigal. I am a senior at Cal Lutheran double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Spanish with a minor in Ethnic Studies! Besides being a part of Her Campus, I am also the Co-President for the Latin American Student Organization, Vice President of My Generation My Fight, and Secretary for the Criminal Justice Student Association. I work on campus at the Office of the President as well as having an off campus job in retail. And I volunteer for the Safe Passage Program through the Criminal Justice Department.
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