Name: Samantha O’Brien
School: University of Massachusetts
Major(s): Biology and Psychology/Neuroscience, Pre-Med
Class year: 2019
When and how did you get involved with YSI?
I went to a Pre-Med society meeting, and afterwards, Kevin Lombardi spoke about YourStory International. This intrigued me a lot, so I filled out an interest form. I went through the entire application process, but I didn’t think much about what to expect. It wasn’t until we actually arrived in Haiti that I realized the extent of the project. YSI is an amazing organization that creates intimate relationships with the people they help and that is something that I would like to continue to be a part of in the future.
Which expeditions have you gone on?
I went on an expedition in January 2016, and I look forward to returning to Haiti in the future.
What are your future plans with us?
I plan on continuing to coordinate with YourStory International for future expeditions. I hope to go back to Haiti in January .
What is your favorite memory from your trip(s) to Haiti?
My favorite memory from my trip to Haiti is when a marching band came to our compound, and everyone in the area gathered to sing and dance. It was amazing [for] a community to come gather and celebrate with music. As someone who thoroughly enjoys music, I was intrigued by how strong the effects of music can be. Music, just like the mission of this program is to help heal people and bring them together.
What would you say to somebody who is unsure whether or not YSI is right for them? Whether it means donating, traveling with us, or simply reading more about us.
If someone was unsure whether or not YSI is right for them, I would tell them to go for it. Going on the expedition with YSI was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If you enjoy helping people and creating intimate relationships while doing so, then YSI is definitely the right choice for you.
What is your biggest take away from the experiences that you have had with YSI?
The biggest take away from the experiences that I’ve had with YSI is that it is important to establish a trusting and understanding relationship with the members of your community. This makes helping them more worthwhile and meaningful. It is important for people to know that there are others that are there to help them and that genuinely care about their wellbeing.