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Open Hearts for Open Hands

Posted on 11/24/2015 9:24:00 AM in The Buzz

Our associates, Trip Experience Leaders, and Program Directors in Argentina can add a new, unexpected skill to their resumes: painting walls. “We all agreed this was our best job by far,” says Magda Zoroza, Executive Vice President in South America. “After so many community service events, we’re gaining painting experience!”

Each year, Grand Circle Foundation funds community service events at all of our regional offices, bringing associates, Program Directors, and Trip Experience Leaders together for a day of hard work and team building. This particular event took place in July at Manos Abiertas (Open Hands), a non-profit organization that provides services throughout the country for Argentines in need.

“We contacted Manos Abiertas to ask how we could help them this year,” says Magda. The non-profit runs eight different community houses, where everyone from infants to the elderly can receive specialized social assistance and medical care. “They told us that one of the most urgent needs was to paint the exterior of Casa de la Esperanza (Hope House) in Buenos Aires.” This particular house assists at-risk children and teenagers who have developed social challenges as a result of their family backgrounds.

In addition to painting the shelter, the team of ten office associates and three Program Directors distributed donations that they collected from friends and family. “As a way to extend help to the people who received us so kindly, we filled a car with food, clothing, bedding, towels, glassware, and soccer balls,” Magda says. They collected enough to distribute to not only Casa de la Esperanza, but to other community houses as well. They ended the day with a celebratory barbecue.

While Magda and her team share a passion for community service and find every annual event to be rewarding, some guest helpers made this one extra special. “We extended the invitation to our children, who were on winter holiday,” Magda says. Even the youngest helper, three-year old Sofia, tried her hand at a paintbrush. Magda’s two sons, 12-year old Juan Pedro and 9-year old Matias, also joined the cause. “They took it very seriously,” Magda says. “I loved having the opportunity to get them involved in helping others. It was a great feeling doing it together.”

Thanks to all of our Buenos Aires office associates, Trip Experience Leaders, and Program Directors who participated in this event—and instilled their passion for service in the younger generation.

All of our Trip Experience Leaders on OAT’s Chile & Argentina: The Andes to Patagonia adventure care deeply for their country and communities. Meet Andrea Salas in this video.

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