While some of us were sitting at home watching reality television, reading or lying by the beach, junior Danielle Benn was changing lives. Benn finished her school year slightly early to head to Jamaica to rebuild schools for young children.
“The first school was about half the size of the Grille and was divided into four sections. You could hear all the teachers and all the students talking at once,” said Benn. “There was no electricity or plumbing. So I laid plumbing lines, used a hand saw, hammer and hand-mixed cement. The second school was different from the first because it had electricity and computers, so all we did was repaint it.”
Benn used the website GoFundMe to attempt to raise $1,000 for her adventure. With the help of others, she raised $700 of the total price of the trip.
The trip was hosted by Sigma Serves Children, the official philanthropy of Sigma Sigma Sigma, a National Panhellenic Council sorority. Benn was joined on her trek by only six other Sigma Sigma Sigma women from her sorority, and together they had the opportunity to meet other Sorority alumnae as well as the president and treasurer.
After her adventures in Jamaica and a few weeks of work at a family-owned campground, Benn then headed to a World Camp USA location, which is a four-week field hockey sleep-away camp that houses 250 girls each week that it is in operation.
In reference to World Camp USA, Benn said, “You’re like their mom. I followed my group of middle- and high-school girls around to the different sessions. I would make sure they were wearing sunscreen and drank their water. One word to describe my experience might be: ‘exciting,’ ‘organized chaos,’ or ‘hard to explain.’ The camp is a learn-as-you-go experience; we arrived a day earlier to walk through the program. I got involved with the program after my coach got an email about the opportunity, and then I had a phone interview.”
The camp runs for four weeks every year. It takes place only in select states: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. It is $500 a week for girls to participate and registration is found online.