“We both want to travel the world and help as many people as we can. We think it is important to experience all different types of places in order to help us form a more accurate representation of the world that we live in.”
–Jordan Schultz and Evan Gold
Name: Jordan Schultz and Evan Gold
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Education: La Jolla High School
Passions and Interests: Spanish and travel
Transformational Experience: Peru: Amazon Service Adventure
Making an Impact: Founding a club to support – both financially and through awareness-building – the Santa Cruz region of the Peruvian Amazon
Evan and Jordan first met in the sixth grade during math class. They became quick friends thanks to shared interests, but had no idea back then where their friendship would take them.
In the summer before their junior year of high school, a radical shift happened. They each wanted to learn more about the world, and staying close to home didn’t make sense for accomplishing that goal. So it sparked the idea of traveling abroad.
We both sought to experience a very different environment than we were used to. We both were very familiar with experiencing places from a tourist’s perspective; however, we really wanted to understand what certain places were truly like from the locals’ perspective. So with our competence in the Spanish language, after just completing AP Spanish in school, we decided we would go to a rural Spanish speaking country. That is why we chose Peru. We chose the Amazon because it was off the beaten path and we felt like we could get the most out of it.”
Their decision took them first to the city of Iquitos, a unique urban enclave in the middle of the rain forest in that there are no roads in or out of the city. You can get there by boat, or by plane, but not by car.
And that was just the expedition to the city itself. Their adventure would take them far from where most tourists roam, into the jungle and the breathtaking rural community of the Santa Cruz region of the Peruvian Amazon.
Evan and Jordan would go on to spend two weeks on GLA’s Peru: Amazon Service Adventure, where they volunteered on the Santa Cruz Forest Reserve, directing their efforts to help preserve the biodiversity of the region, while also improving the quality of life for those who lived nearby, through both community service and contributing their time at a local school.
Reflecting back on their time on this program, each took something away that has changed the course of his life.
Evan: “Going on a GLA program altered my “life plan” and perspective on life. The lessons I learned in the Peruvian jungle have begun to shape my character and govern my actions. As long as I live, I will always have a connection to Peru, and will continue to help communities in-need of educational or environmental aid. There is now a sense of urgency to help others in my life and connect with people of different cultures.”
Jordan: “This GLA trip definitely opened my eyes to the world and widened my perspective of how to live. I saw from my trip to the Amazon that many people do not need a lot of material things to live a happy life. I believe part of my life’s future direction is to live with meaning, great experiences and great people with minimal material things.”
When Evan and Jordan returned from Peru, they were determined to to achieve two goals: aid the local school at which they contributed their time and energy, and provide support to the greater community in the Santa Cruz region.
To accomplish it, they set out an ambitious plan to form a club that made both these ends possible. The club was founded to raise awareness about complexities of life in the Peruvian Amazon, and raise funds to provide financial support to improve conditions there. The club hosts meetings every other week, where participants are treated to presentations about the region and plan activities that can help to meet the group’s goals.
So far, through their club, Evan and Jordan have hosted several fundraisers and plan to do more, in order to divide the funds in a meaningful way between replenishing the forest or adding to the protected area of the Santa Cruz Forest Reserve, as well as giving much-needed support to the local school.
Their ultimate goal, however, is to make the reach of their club last beyond their time in high school.
We want to figure out a way to help improve the school’s educational system and make everything more sustainable. In other words, we want to stress the importance of helping for the purpose of achieving an environment and community that is self sufficient.”
We asked both Evan and Jordan to share their thoughts about giving back to the world, and they left us with some sage advice:
Evan: “If you want to do something for this world – do it. Do it with hard work, passion and a vision for the future.”
Jordan: “I want to live. I want to be happy and experience life to the fullest. I want to see what it has to offer me, and what I have to offer it.”
Program Jordan and Evan attended:
GLA Peru: Amazon Service Adventure
Curious about exploring your own GLA adventure? Check these out:
- GLA Peru: Amazon Service Adventure
- GLA Peru: Service in the Sacred Valley
- GLA Peru: Spanish Service Adventure