Jaclyn Aida’s life changed this past summer at an elementary school in Nicaragua as she helped students with their math workbooks. She speaks only elementary Spanish—four years of high school classes under her belt—but at least the numbers were the same. The Columbia High School senior left for the trip thinking she would learn about Nicaraguan culture, but she returned home from the Global Ties of Alabama youth trip with so much more than just facts about a different land. She came home a newfound desire to help those in need while also learning that happiness has nothing to do with material things.
Even Jaclyn’s mother noticed something was different when her daughter came back home. Sue Aida said she noticed the change immediately. Jaclyn had already been exposed to international travel—she’s half Japanese, and they’ve visited family in Japan before—but never expressed an interest in other international travel before her trip to Nicaragua.