“ I want to make an impact on my community while learning about myself in the process, and inspire others to do the same. ”
Name: Hollister Rhone
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Education: Walter Payton College Prep
Passions and Interests: Everything from chemistry and social studies to springboard diving and sailing
Transformational Experience: GLA Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
Making an Impact: Becoming a GLA Global Ambassador after returning from the first year of the Global Health Initiative™ program
In the summer of 2016, as GLA was piloting its brand new Global Health Initiative™ program in the Dominican Republic, Hollister Rhone didn’t know exactly what to expect.
A friend had recommended Global Leadership Adventures and gave her a program catalog to look through. While she was browsing through the pages, she landed on GHI because her interest was piqued by its global health theme. But an experience is never quite the same on the page as it is on the ground.
So how did it all turn out?
As Hollister tells it:
I went to the Dominican Republic with the Global Health Initiative for 14 days. It was the rawest and most meaningful experience of my life. “
Despite being her first service-learning trip, Hollister caught on to the impact of her work in the DR right away. She liked that the trip felt so much more “authentic” and “real” than had she done a more touristy adventure.
The difference in expectations vs. reality also illuminated the tough, but essential, foundation-building work of meaningful service in another country. Though the program had a public health theme, and featured a look into the clinical experience in a developing country, there were physical projects and data collection parts of the service work too. It was this “behind the scenes” work that made it possible for health care professionals in the country to better do their jobs and assist the community.
We did do some clinic work, but much of the work was behind the scenes. I didn’t really expect to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, but it ended up being the most important! I was so inspired by the whole trip. I really want to go into public health.”
Upon returning from her program, Hollister decided to continue doing the important work she had started in the Dominican Republic.
One way was by become a GLA student ambassador, which gives her a platform to help other teens find a project abroad they care about and want to contribute to.
The other way was by writing a post-service reflection on her experience in the DR. Here’s an excerpt that underlines Hollister’s new outlook:
I walked away from my global health experience in the Dominican Republic with an understanding of what it means to be sustainable. A sustainable project is one that addresses the root cause of a long-term problem and approaches it in a way that provides a long term solution. This attitude of looking upstream and downstream at an issue inspires me to pursue a career in global health, because simply becoming a medical professional does not address the need for aid that includes community partnership and involvement. This element of partnership is what enabled me to gain a personal connection with the people living in Las Canas, and stepping on the plane back to America meant leaving behind a part of myself in the Dominican Republic.”
Hollister plans to return to the Dominican Republic with GLA on the flagship Building a Sustainable World™ program this coming summer, in order to help her achieve her goals of giving back and learning more about health, sustainability and advocacy.
My ultimate goal is to positively affect as many people as I can, and do so in a way that is as non-intrusive and sustainable as possible. “
We couldn’t say it better ourselves!
Program Hollister attended:
GLA Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
Curious about exploring your own GLA adventure? Check these out:
- GLA Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
- GLA Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World™