Sophomore Digs for Fish and Philanthropy


Lilli Carlton, Staff Writer

When you think about the word “selfless,” what do you think of? Do you think about helping out your parent do chores without asking? Do you think of letting an old lady sit down in your seat? Or do you think of simply completing your community service hours?

When you think of the word “selfless,” you might not think about traveling 2,909 miles to  build fish farms—but that is exactly what Sophomore Addie Mahler did over the summer.

Addie Mahler went on a summer trip to Peru through a volunteer organization called Global Leadership Adventures, a company dedicated to helping high schoolers get out into the world, find their passion, and help others—a model based on the ideals of the US Peace Corps.

Global Leadership Adventures, or “GLA,” has different, “life-changing” programs in over 20 different countries.

“I knew that I really wanted to do a trip because my mom did work abroad all around the world, and that was something interesting to me. I liked it because it had some language immersion but also community service,” says Addie.

The trip focused on building fish farms for people who lack access to good nutrition.

“Every morning we would get up and go to a town outside of Cusco to pickaxe and shovel so we could build these fish farms.”

“I learned about work ethic. A man named Antonio would pickaxe with us. And he was 74. But if you were with him you would drop the pickaxe and pick up a shovel to keep up with him.”Along with the daily hard work, Addie and her companions were also able to see Peruvian culture in its fullest.








“My favorite part of the day was in the afternoon when we would go and visit children. My favorite little girls were Malga and Juanita. We also were able to see music and dance performances, go white-water rafting, listen to speakers give presentations and watch TED Talks, and hike Machu Picchu on a four day trek.”

We were able to get to different places by taking our own path, led by locals, helping stimulate the local economy. In the afternoons when there wasn’t an activity planned, we could go explore the town.”

“Also I was struck with the fact that they don’t believe in loans and I took away the balance between bettering and helping their communities through modernization while keeping in mind their culture and tradition and we had a whole seminar on that which was quite interesting in finding the middle ground.”

What surprised Addie most, however, was how much she grew to love the people themselves and appreciate what they taught her.img_1381

“Just how happy and content they were with what the have, and how in our society we try to acquire more,” recounts Addie.

“They did everyting 100%, and if it makes them unhappy they don’t do it. I learned a lot that I took back to the US, but everyplace is different and I am aware of that and know that.”

Interested in learning more? Talk to Addie and check out Global Leaders Adventures online.

A selfless, life-changing experience might be waiting for you!