This week we spoke with Elvis De La Rosa, a recent graduate from Banana Kelly High School in the Bronx and a recent Global Impact Award winner (an annual award presented to a student who exemplifies the mission of buildOn in their region).
Elvis saw a buildOn poster in his school’s hallway that read, “Have the chance to go to another country and help other people in need,” in 2011. Within a few months, he was building a school in Nicaragua. It was a big wake up call, he said. With 27 other students from New York, Elvis learned and adapted to the culture of Nicaragua—from tasting their food to learning new music. His two-week experience was marked by self-reflection and by the compassion exchanged between buildOn students and villagers.
He looks forward to starting college in the fall with long-term goals inspired by buildOn.
buildOn member since: Summer 2011.
Why did you join buildOn?
To help people that are in need overseas and in my community. In order to help my community, it should be people from the community who know what’s going on.
What were you doing before you joined buildOn?
I was playing basketball and just doing school stuff. buildOn motivated me to do a lot of volunteer work.
How has buildOn changed your life?
I have participated in activities I thought I would have never been a part of. buildOn gave me the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. to help tutor kids at an elementary school. After that experience, I just loved being around kids because they are the future. Kids at a young age need a lot of support and love, and many of them do not get that from their families. This is why I believe buildOn is so great, because they are like a family to some kids all around the world.
What are some of your favorite memories working with buildOn?
In Nicaragua, it was getting to know my whole family and having two little hosts. I got them soccer balls so we could play. The last day I was in the village, I was walking to the bus and I saw my little host-brother and sister crying. We all had a big impact with just 12 days in the village.
Complete this sentence: buildOn is… Impacting.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
In college, I’m planning to major in sports management. After college, I want to be able to help plan some of the biggest sporting events around the U.S. and around the world. buildOn has played a big part in my future plans because they have taught me that when you start something, you finish it.