As you prepare for you upcoming trip to Ecuador this July, I am reflecting on the success of last year’s trip and the positive impact the experience made on the youth, children, and volunteers. I would like to thank you, however belated, for allowing me to join you and the rest of the youth leaders in participating in the youth leadership conference which served as a unique opportunity for cultural exchange. In your speech to the youth, you spoke of an inner “fuerza” and with the sound of adrenaline pumping in my ears, I understood without knowing, that you were describing the inner force, guiding strength, and power of belief in oneself that serves as the backbone of achievement, leadership and, ultimately, self-actualized happiness. The belief in one’s own capabilities is a powerful drug of the psyche, and it came as no surprise that we heard on that day the proclamation from a small girl of the audience, “yo soy yo!,” which moved me, and the entire room, to applause.
I learned the importance of positive thinking and having faith in oneself. My personal contribution to the youth conference involved singing the US national anthem, and conducting an impromptu breathing lesson, (using my broken Spanish and body language!), that without your speech, would probably not have occurred; I being too intimidated to attempt the challenge. After the youth conference let out, I was walking back with our team to the hotel when the schoolgirl wearing the earrings I had admired earlier at the conference met me in the street. She remembered my name, called me over, and took off her beautiful earrings and put them in my hand, telling me that they were a gift. I have never known such openness and spontaneous generosity! Volunteering at the schools, I was amazed by the generosity of the children. When not assisting in the pharmacy, my arm was pulled in each direction with the plea “vamos a jugar!” that became music to my ears throughout the trip.
I am writing to ask if you would consider writing me a letter of recommendation for medical school. This experience taught me about myself and gave me confidence to pursue a career in medicine, quite possibly in pediatrics or women’s health. With this summer’s trip to plan, I realize my timing couldn’t be more inopportune, but your letter means a great deal to me. I am willing to work around your busy schedule. Tentatively, I would like to submit my application early July, but if you are unable to start drafting until you return from the mission, perhaps we can shoot for late July…?
I wish you and your team all the best with this upcoming venture to Ecuador. I consider myself very fortunate for having had the opportunity to participate on your mission this past year and hope also to have the opportunity to continue the cycle of healing through a career in medicine.
Thank you again,
Chemical and Biological Engineering Department
BS Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign