Meet Kevin Magaña (he/him), a 12th-grade student at Mendez High School. We connected to discuss his two-week trip abroad to the Dominican Republic this past summer with Global Glimpse. Read more below.
Kevin first came across Global Glimpse, a non-profit organization that empowers students from diverse backgrounds to work together, build empathy, connect with the world, and prepare for their future, through his English teacher. “I did not want to apply for the program at first because it was a lot of paperwork and I had to write an essay but I am glad I asked for more information; it was an unforgettable experience,” he says.
For two weeks, Kevin was immersed in a new community, learned from local residents, and engaged in a leadership curriculum that ended with a service-learning project. In total, seven Mendez students participated in trips to Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.
During the trip, Kevin learned from sugarcane farmers of Haitian descent about the racism and discrimination they experience. “They work in the plantations for very little money and because it is easier to hide from the police to avoid deportation.” He also recalls being told that many people of Haitian descent do not have birth certificates and are regularly denied medical attention.
As a Mexican immigrant who came to the United States at the age of thirteen, Kevin relates to their difficulty and emphasizes the need for equality and empathy, highlighting that all humans deserve fair treatment regardless of their background. “People need to reflect on their words and actions; we are all human and nothing makes one person better than the other,” he says.
The trip has heightened Kevin’s awareness of these forms of issues. This newfound understanding compels him to stay informed about world events and engage with relevant literature or media in and outside of school.
Kevin also helped to construct an aqueduct for a small community. Many communities in the Dominican Republic face extreme poverty and have very limited government assistance. “We used pickaxes, shovels, and tubes to create the aqueduct because the locals needed water and the help they were promised never came.”
“Sometimes we cannot help people directly, but we can take action to prevent something similar from happening in our communities,” says Kevin. He encourages people to take action when they see something unfair or that can be avoided, even when it’s hard to do.
Moving forward, Kevin will be an ambassador for the Global Glimpse program and encourage other students at Mendez to participate in the program by sharing his experience. He also plans on continuing to create awareness of similar issues he learned in the Dominican Republic on social media.