After their rewarding trip to Puerto Rico, the iLEAD students who spent their spring break this year helping the island territory rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Maria have received several invitations to share their experience. From March 22 through 29, the group, who dubbed themselves “Backpacks Full of Hope,” worked in various regions of Puerto Rico replanting forests, building “Earthship” sustainable dwellings, and distributing the thousands of dollars in donated supplies that they had gathered from their family, friends and community.

Following their return, the 10 students, who were accompanied by several iLEAD staff members and parents, shared the things they were able to accomplish as well as how the trip impacted their own lives with iLEAD Schools’ staff and students. Last week, several of them had the opportunity to share the experience with the Santa Clarita community on the KHTS radio program “Our Way on the Highway.” If you missed the live interview, you can listen here.

Joining the backpackers in their radio interview was Colene Riffo, representative of the Rotary Club of SCV, who discussed the Rotary’s various partnerships with iLEAD and SCVi and their commitment to fostering service and leadership. The Rotary Club of SCV was also a significant supporter and donor to the Backpacks Full of Hope humanitarian mission to Puerto Rico this year, and the Backpackers will make their presentation to the Rotary Club at their meeting on May 23.

The success and impact of their trip has generated a great deal of excitement. And, due to the great and continued need for support in Puerto Rico, the group has decided to return next spring. Many of their classmates, teachers and other community members have expressed interest in joining them. If you, too, would like to join Backpacks Full of Hope’s Team Puerto Rico 2019, email backpacksfullofhope@culturalbridges.global or contact Matt Watson at (661) 434-1045.