Foreign countries, especially the people in them, can sometimes feel unreachable to American teenagers like me.  We read about the world in school… But, there just isn’t life in a textbook.  There is such a great disconnect between an individual looking at a picture, and the actual person inside the photo.  It’s one thing to hear about children who’ve been orphaned from diseases (like ebola), and another thing entirely to be able to talk to them.

Thanks to modern technology (Google Hangout, specifically), I had the opportunity to meet the Liberian children I’d recently volunteered to support through Uniting Distant Stars. We were able to establish a live-video connection, and for the first time, I was able to see their smiling faces in a setting far more personal than a photograph.

Initially, there was some degree of difficulty connecting to the internet on the Liberian end, but after a choppy start, we finally could see each other and everyone broke out into grins and applause.  

Prior to the meeting, the UDS-supported youth formulated 5 questions to ask me, and I brought 5 of my own for them. One of the things I asked was, “What are your dreams for the future? What/where do you want to be?” And their responses were not much different than had I asked the question in an American school: “doctor,” “teacher,” “writer,” “mechanic,” etc.. Their eyes were lit with hope and it became obvious to me why Uniting Distant Stars does the work it does.

Those sweet students became extremely real to me after the meeting and the need to help and uplift them became even more evident.  Inspired, I decided to create a “PSA” (Public Service Announcement) in their honor.  

It is an incredible thing to love and feel loved by individuals all the way on the other side of the globe. I will never forget the feeling of gratitude I had immediately following our meeting, not only for the luxuries and abundance which became apparent in my own life, but also for the opportunity to touch lives which used to feel unreachable. The impact has been mutual; their smiles, words, and impressions have left an unfadable mark on my heart.