Christopher Powell, a Park Cities native and a junior at Hamilton College, recently returned home from a summer spent helping orphaned and displaced children in Guatemala through an internship with Tree 4 Hope.
Powell received a Levitt Public Service Internship Award, which funds summer internships focusing on public service. It was not Powell’s first experience with Tree 4 Hope, or with work in Guatemala.
“I learned about Tree 4 Hope through my Adirondack Adventure leader when he asked me to come on one of Tree 4 Hope’s service trips in Guatemala over this past winter break,” Powell said.
During that trip, Powell met the Crist family, which owns the T4H foundation, and upon expressing his enthusiasm for the program, was informed that they were looking for a summer intern that would be able to work full time on-location in Guatemala.
Powell’s primary work this summer was with Hogar Miguel Magone, an orphanage focusing on displaced children. Through their partnership, Tree 4 Hope funds food for more than 300 children supported by HMM.
Powell chiefly focused on continuing Tree 4 Hope’s sponsorship program, through which it hosts sponsors who agree to fund a given child’s fruits, vegetables and meats on a monthly basis, an average of $7 a month per child.
When other tasks weren’t commanding his time, Powell worked on one of Tree 4 Hope’s newer aspirations: providing meals for children fighting cancer at a hospital in Guatemala City.
“I’ve loved my time in Guatemala because of the children at the orphanage,” he said. “I made great relationships with them over the course of my two weeks with them in January, and it was those relationships that drove me to return this summer. This work is really rewarding because of them, and how much they express their gratitude to everyone that works with them.”
Beyond helping the orphans, Powell said he learned from them, obtaining new practical Spanish skills, as well as gaining lessons in gratitude, acceptance and patience.
“I also learned how to make friends fast,” he said. “At the orphanage obviously this applied, but while the teams I led at the orphanage weren’t in Guatemala, I stayed in a hostel dorm room, and met people from all over the world, which was an experience all its own.”
— Staff report