Posted January 2010
Alicia Pacheco (senior, Elementary Education,) is a familiar, friendly face on campus. Few realize the extent of her activities outside of campus in the pursuit of helping others, and her dedication to humanitarian values and a global awareness.
With the Chaminade Rotoract club (part of Rotary International) she went to the Philippines to help build homes and a school that had been destroyed by a mudslide. The children of the village befriended her. Alicia says "I was left with the lasting impression of their gratefulness, for anything and everything, and how much they wanted to share their culture."
Last summer, Alicia with companions from Chaminade set off on what was billed as a "Mexican Immersion" service trip through the Rector’s office. The trip was stalled at the San Antonio airport when the foursome could not proceed to Mexico because of the H1N1 outbreak.
Quickly, the trip was dubbed "The San Antonio Immersion." The foursome (Alicia, LaPria Wilks, Teri Mei, and Anatol Vonzitzewitz) set out to find out how they could be helpful in San Antonio for two weeks. A quick call to the local Catholic Charities connected them serendipitously to a community organizer who soon was able to help them find service opportunities.
They soon were very busy. Alicia says, "From day to day, we never knew who we would meet, where we would stay, or what we would be doing." During their stay in San Antonio the team were English tutors for political refugees from Burma and Nepal, helped build a home for the needy through Habitat for Humanity, helped deliver food with a food mission, and helped to organize and help students paint a mural designed by at-risk neighborhood kids from a "last chance" high school in a tough area.
Faith is a big part of Alicia’s motivation. She is Mormon, on a Catholic campus. She chose Chaminade University partly because she was attracted to the religious-based values here. She respects the Catholic faith, and feels that the Catholic community on campus respects her faith as well. She feels deeply the importance of building true community between various religions. Her favorite professor is Father Tim Eden (Education.) "He starts every class with a prayer. It changes the whole attitude of the class. Suddenly we get past the classroom and see who people are, what may be going on in their lives." She feels this makes her relationship with her classmates more meaningful.
In a service-learning project that was part of her degree program in Elementary Education, Alicia and a classmate created and directed a storytelling unit for children at Palolo School, which was very well received. (Service-learning is a part of every degree program on campus.) Alicia is also very involved with girl scouts, and is a proud leader of a very active teenage group (above.)
Planning for the next adventures, Alicia is looking forward to an India Immersion this coming summer, and then a year abroad studying in Denmark before she graduates.
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