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Reflections, 2018

What is our mission and vision?

Farther Foundation helps students break free from the constraints of poverty and isolation and propels them toward their highest aspirations. We provide opportunities for eager and deserving students to participate in educational programs across the country and around the world.

Does it work?

Yes! 100% of our alumni graduate from high school, 99% go on to college, and 95% graduate or persist in college. They strongly agree that they learned something on their programs that they could not learn at home, and they strongly agree that they would encourage others to do the same!

Let’s let Dr. Seuss sum it up from his book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.

This year, Farther Foundation helped 41 students travel the world, have unique experiences, and bring home the best in themselves. Please enjoy their photos and stories in our annual yearbook, Reflections, 2018.


“Returning home from this trip, I definitely see a new person in me. I became a leader to my friends and family. Being able to share my experiences with them and telling them how I overcame my fears gave them motivation. If I share the message to others, that you can do anything, and my actions match my words, then they will believe the same thing. I am able to be the first in the group to volunteer for the unknown, and to encourage others to do the same. I am able to tell others that being afraid is okay but only if you overcome that fear. I will carry these skills with me for the rest of my life and continue to share them with others. How will you continue to step out of your comfort zone?”

Alexis traveled to Thailand on a program that included learning about and working with elephants.


“Throughout the course, I learned many new things. I learned how to snorkel and SCUBA dive.  I witnessed all sorts of marine life. We logged the fish we saw everyday after we dived and as a result, I learned about countless different fish, such as reef cornetfish, guineafowl pufferfish, king angelfish, and my favorite, abudefduf troschelii (aka panama sergeant major.)  We were able to study oceanography and the physical processes which formed the Gulf of California and the biotic and abiotic factors that make it one of the most biological diverse marine systems on the planet. We also learned more about human caused environmental issues threatening biodiversity of the global ocean.”

Tristan traveled to Baja, Mexico where he studied marine biology.


“I imagined my grandparents back home, most likely sitting together on the couch, and realized how far away they really were. Four thousand, eight hundred and sixty miles away to be exact. And there I was, in the middle of the Abruzzi Mountains with fifteen other people, wandering through a water filled cavern looking for a waterfall. Who would’ve thought that I would be spending my summer in Italy wandering through the forest, working on a farm and touring Florence? Not me! Traveling across the world seemed like some faraway dream until suddenly, there I was; eating gelato on a crowded Florence street and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Never in my life have I been exposed to so many new opportunities and experiences quite like these. Opportunities and experiences which opened my horizons and showed me what life had to offer.”

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“With gloves on, a pair of mayo’s in my right hand and forceps in my left, I start to anatomize our heart. I can finally imagine the list of things surgeons go through- cramped necks, the smell of wet dog, and swollen feet. After three hours of pure dissecting, I begin to think that Catherine Avery, from Grey’s Anatomy, was right. Being able to touch a heart is not luck, it’s privilege.”

Xonhane studied pediatric thoracic surgery at Stanford.


“I was wearing a traditional dress for our 'despedida'(farewell) party. I took one last memory of Muchi, a village kid who enjoys life and is a great soccer player and English learner. Iltaquí is one of the most welcoming places I have ever been to. I will always remember our community.”

Chantal experienced amazing people and communities in Ecuador and the Galapagos.


“Upon my arrival at Rhode Island, I took a deep breath and made myself a promise that I wouldn’t let my emotions get the best of my experience. If I had to be 100% honest with myself, I was not a huge fan of being across the country away from my comfort zone, but I was not going to let that stop me from having a great experience. When I arrived to campus, I instantly was shocked to see so many people from all over the world. It was to my surprise that there could be so many people from different cultures in one space: I loved it.”

Cielo spent the summer at Brown University where she took classes in medicine and explored the college experience.


“Everyone is watching me because I'm 6’2 and a black male. A lot of people who attended the university had never seen that before so I felt like a unicorn to some of them, like something they’ve only seen in games or on tv before. It wasn’t until the third day that I met one of my best friends for the next two weeks and his name was Jason. Jason and I instantly clicked because he was from Taiwan and we both had similar interests in basketball, shoes and clothing. It went from eating lunch by myself to eating with Jason and talking about hoops and shoes. For the two weeks I was at Boston, I could’ve been a homebody and just sat in my room all day and not made any friends, but I learned how to make friends. I also learned some time management skills including how to do what I want and learning how to balance homework.”

Jordan (top of photo) spent the summer having a campus experience at Boston College.

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“I realized that I had been very quiet and that the point of me studying abroad was to interact with others. As we headed back to the enormous house I decided to start to talk to people. I talked to many and got to meet my (host) mother’s friends. As we partied all night to classic rock, I realized how at home I felt. As I connected with everyone at the party, I forgot that I was stranger to them. I felt a part of Spain, as if I had known these people for a long time. I was able to learn so much about Spain as I talked with people from Cataluña and Andalucia. I was fascinated to learn that despite them all being from Spain, many had different dialects and customs.”


“One of the relationships that I cultivated during my homestay is the bond with my host mom, Maria. She was there whenever I needed her and acted as a mother. We would always have our nightly conversations before going to bed and she would always explain her way of living, traditions, cultures, morals, and values. I learned a lot from her and her family and the bond that I had with her allowed me to want to have a better bond with my real mom. I now talk more with my mom and I always find myself asking my mom questions.”


“The Cacha community faces the challenge of maintaining their heritage in a world that has attempted to steal their way of life away from them. To do so, they have created a sustainable community to bring in their own revenue and share their way of life. This includes offering tours, farming, and inviting twenty seven teenagers to take part in their festival. However, I didn’t just learn about the customs of the Cacha, I was able to deepen my relationship with the Earth and the world around me.”

Marisa (far left) traveled to Ecuador where she met and learned about indigenous populations.


“It was fun to walk around pretending I was someone different, someone who was maybe French or maybe a Spaniard. I was someone who was happier than they’ve ever been in a long time. I was so glad to be away and learning things from the great french teachers. I learned how to make my paintings look more realistic and making my photos looking more defined and perfect. I captured love, beauty, mystery and nothing but brilliant minds.”


“Besides living a college student life, I learned that this was the path I wanted to follow and I felt confident that I would work hard my senior year so I could follow my dream. As a first generation student, I am eternally grateful for the privilege of being able to experience college first hand before applying. I became more independent and self-reliant since education became a choice rather than an obligation.”

Hannah spent her summer at Boston University.


“A challenge to face was the great amount of culture shock because I am used to being around people the same ethnicity as me and just people of color. On this trip, the majority of the people were white and I hardly ever spend time with people of that race because they aren’t really around, unless they are teachers or adults. I learned that many of the kids of this trip have never seen a person of color because their countries are only surrounded by the people of the same skin color. A memorable experience was the classes we had with the other study abroad students because I got to learn a lot about them and their surroundings. It was important to me because I want to be able to learn more about the countries that I someday want to visit. It impacted me because I don’t usually learn these things in school, so it was cool to be able to learn things during the summer.”

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“In my photos: 1) I was playing an instrument from the Lisu village at the good-bye party they organized for us. 2) After walking for almost two hours, We found our way to the Grand Palace. It is even more beautiful in person. 3) The people in Ban Srikum village were one of the most welcoming people I have ever met. We could be seen here doing a slow temple dance to offer gifts to the monks.”

Aude traveled to Thailand and was willing to fully participate in all she saw.


“The part in China where I went to study abroad for a month was Anshan, which is a small city. Throughout the month in China, I attended school to learn Mandarin and learn about the Chinese culture/traditions. This is a big opportunity that was given to me and one that I will never forget. The experience will impact my future by helping me becoming a more open-minded person. This will also help me look at what is the reality, rather than the double standards and stereotypes, that exist around me.”

Kennedy and Millie

“The second week there, I went to a different hospital because my placement changed to surgery. I very much enjoyed this new placement more because I have an interest in surgery and I was able to take a lot of pictures.” — Kennedy

“My experience in La Romana, Dominican Republic, made me think of life in a brand new perspective. Being an international student and shadowing doctors in less fortunate living conditions, caused me to step into the shoes of those that are less privileged. Doing hands-on training truly opened my eyes to witness health issues in the Caribbean. I worked with several patients that were in desperate need of medical care.” — Millie

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“The program broadened my entire outlook on culture norms, from the luxury of washing machines and lasting hot water to a roof that doesn’t make rain sound like a meteor shower. Costa Rica gave me the opportunity to learn from people and situations that I don't necessarily like or agree with because growth was inevitable when witnessing a side of the world that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Of course there were times when the group didn’t see eye-to-eye, but we tried to handle our differences maturely, with open conversations and sincerity, which ultimately developed our skills for life in the real world.”


“Our first week in Italy we stayed in Sora, a small town in Southern Italy. In Sora, we stayed on a farm where we helped out as volunteers. We lived with Antannelo, his two daughters, his wife, and other volunteers. We also met Antanello’s father, Giuseppe, who did not speak any English, but still had a way to communicate with the volunteers. Mr. Giuseppe was approximately seventy years old but was still one of the most active workers on the farm. He also led our cooking classes, teaching us how to make pasta and pizza from scratch. He also helped us explore the farm. Showing us every crop on the farm; he even showed us where he made his own wine. He was one of the most influential people my trip. Showing us that you are never too old to accomplish your dreams.”


“Walking on Thailand streets made me feel part of the culture. Listening to the different people talk in the Thai language made me feel welcomed in their society. Everything surrounding me made me feel welcomed and at home. Even though Thai people were completely different from me, I knew I belonged to this society. This is what I felt as I walked through the doors to my first day of school. I knew my instinct was going to be right and so it was! When I walked in the door a huge parade was waiting for me as I entered. I knew at that moment that coming to Thailand was the best decision I have ever made.”


“I have always been a quiet person. It was worse when I was younger because I barely spoke. I could only speak with my family. It got a bit better as the years went by, but I continued to be timid. The reasons ranged from people judging to people knowing me. During the trip I was confronted by several truths. Thai people aren’t judgemental. They also care about people. They are always willing to help. I felt welcomed and loved for the way I was. I was able to show my true self without being afraid. My confidence level has spiked up. I see myself in a better image.”

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“This was the day the French soccer team won the World Cup. It was a monumental event to everyone in France. Soccer has always been a very important sport to the French culture. The team dealt with politics, such as the problems France has faced about diversity. It also has served as a unifying factor for the French society. Everyone who was celebrating this victory was considered French. By experiencing these feelings of pride and unity first-hand, I was able to learn so much more about the culture than I did through reading textbooks. Usually, I am not a huge soccer fan, but I quickly became one once I understood the importance of this sport to the society.”


“As the hugs and pictures came to an ending, I finally managed to look down at my wrists. A collection of white string, delicately tied as to not harm me, and each holding a deep blessing from every one of the host parents. These strings symbolized the fact that we were all now and forever going to be a part of their community. Their tears showed us that we will be on their minds and hearts even after our departure. Our own tears reflected the same emotions and thoughts.”

Luisa’s program in Thailand included a family homestay.

ANthony and Jaime

“I walked into my dorm the first day of the Harvard Summer School excited, nervous and unknowing. Monday came, and I had Pre-calc in the morning and Intro to Neuroscience in the afternoon. A daily routine was taking shape. The transition from high school to college courses wasn’t easy. However, I came to love the college course format. I appreciated the freedom in being able to study in any way that I want. The choices were abundant, and the time was afforded to us.” — Anthony

“Of course, it had to come on a Friday night. I thought that hitting Boston for a night out on the town was what I deserved after the millions of hours I spent studying for my Neuroscience exam. The sun-bleached skies of an overcast day in Cambridge began to set; long gone were the hours of constant Harvard-related tourism and a distinct peace had rid the air around campus of any tension. I packed my backpack, slid my phone into my back pocket and set out to meet with my friend. The plan was simple: use google maps to find Boston’s best pizza place. Tragedy struck at around 8:30 PM. With the moon now being the only moderator between me and the hustle and bustle of a weeknight in Boston, I carried out the dreaded ritual that most generation Z babies know so well: “Oh, man. My phone’s about to die” I said as I disappointingly slid my phone back into my pocket.” — Jaime


“The remainder of the trip was spent in small towns and in Shanghai, however when asked what our favorite part of our adventure was, everyone said it is our rural homestay. Not only did we meet an ethnic group and share their culture and customs, but for the first time many of us faced an opportunity to self discover. I realized that I by no means have a good relationship with insects and nature, however, I also discovered that despite my physical condition, I can climb mountains and hike and even farm. I discovered how truly strong I am and how humble people in this world can be.”


“I came back devastated at the fact that I had just left a very beautiful country, but I was excited to be back to share all the great things I learned from Nepal with all my friends, family and even strangers. A part of me believes that I had the opportunity to go to Nepal only to come back and share my experience with people that need guidance of some sort.”

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““Where are you from?” “ What are our stands on abortion?” “ Did you attend the March for our lives?” “Cool, I love that song” I sat around a circular table with 12 unrecognized faces. The expressions of confusion, fear, hope, and wonder flew by, but one thing that remained were the words of affirmation. The words that told all of us that we had found a place to speak about all the issues the world kept quiet. At that moment, it did not matter if one was a Republican, another a Democrat, and many undecided. It was all about getting to know the future leaders of the world, the only thing is that we still did not understand it. It was not hard to notice the many accents, the hairstyles, the color of the eyes that were signs of diversity. Initially, with fear, I told myself to blend in, to stay quiet, and to not stand out, but that instantly went away as I took a seat. Within five minutes I understood that this program was about standing out, because each person was ready to tell who they were and what they believed. That this program was an outlet to let out the real me.”


“This experience was important for me because it ultimately prepared me for college coming next fall. Now, I’m not too scared to go away to college and live on my own. As for my study abroad experience, I cannot wait for my next chance to study abroad. This Japan excursion made me more intrigued about what is out there in the world rather what’s in my own backyard. I know I will be studying abroad in college, and I hope to have the chance to explore more of Europe and Asia. What I learned from this experience is that I do have the capability of living on my own and taking care of myself.”


“‘You all will shower together,’ one of the people in charge said to the group. I stared at her blankly because I didn't quite understand why I had to shower with a bunch of girls that I had just met a few hours ago. I was hesitant and began to regret the trip immediately. I thought to myself, ‘I did not sign up to be in a room full of naked women who are strangers to me.’ I also thought about how this was an entirely different country to me and that I needed to be open to new experiences. After bathing with about 10 women, I realized the purpose of the Onsen. It was to bring people together. I came to realize that within the household, women also showered together. It brought the girls of the family closer to each other, as well as make the Japanese realize that they should not be ashamed of their bodies and in a way give them more confidence. This is one of the many life-changing experience that made me realize how America is so worried about body images. This made me rethink America itself and what the people in America valued in comparison to the Japanese people.”


“It was not the roller coaster ride that changed me; it was the act of trying something differently, without depending on others or letting the “what ifs” stop me. I have felt more confident in myself ever since because something as simple as a roller coaster ride was just the beginning of me becoming a new person when I first came to Davidson College. This thrill that I felt was not the typical thrill people feel at amusement parks, well a little bit. But the point is that I was proud of myself even though I was freaking out during the roller coaster because, although it was one of the most reckless things I had done, I was no longer afraid of what would happen if I decided to take a different course. From this, I know that I will have a better experience when I am on my own at college.”


“Before attending Harvard one of my biggest fears was not fitting in, and I would not be able to adjust. I was coming from the south side of Chicago and attending school on the west side where the majority population of the school is Latino, African American and low income. I had some culture shock; I was surrounded by a population of students where it was majority white. But, I adjusted really well to Harvard. I forged bonds that will last a lifetime.”


“Home Base was in Shaxi, Yunnan in China. A beautiful small town with welcoming people and colorful culture surrounded by green mountains and fog on some days. Spending time at the local kindergarten was a blast. Every morning, the students would start with a dance warm up. We all joined in on the dancing and were surprised to find out that the warm up was 30 minutes long! I am the the one in the light blue shirt in the 3rd column from the left.”


“Later that night, I started to interact with the local teenage Spaniards at the park. We were all standing by the swings when one of my bilingual friends, Angela, broke from conversational Spanish with the other Spaniards, and she said to me, “they want to know about your experiences being black and gay in America.” When I heard this request, I simply felt happy. I felt intrigued by their curiosity. The night before, I learned that Angela describes herself as radical feminist. She is a huge activist for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and rights for people of color. She attends protests and rallies to make sure her voice is heard. Angela is only 15. Before I gave my answer, I knew that she would not only understand and empathize, but she would make sure that my answer would translate into Spanish in a way that the other Spaniards could understand it. Here was my answer to Angela: ‘My experience with being black and gay in the United States has been hard because society fails to realize that my race and my sexual orientation affect me both in intersecting ways.’”


“This experience holds such an important place in my heart because I was able to accomplish something I thought was impossible. I went into my exchange knowing no Spanish and I left being able to hold a conversation with my host family and peers. Communication with my host mom in the beginning was very difficult because of the language barrier but because I wanted to communicate with her, I made it my goal to do everything possible to learn the language and that is why it made my experience even better.”

Jessica traveled to Argentina. Her program highlight was the relationship she built with her host family.


“Thanks to the experience at Notre Dame University, I’ve become more independent and stopped depending on my parents. I've even started cooking my own food at home. I’ve learned that you should always try and make friends everywhere because the bond you build with them makes you more confident and comfortable when you're around them. In these two weeks at Notre Dame, I found out that college life is not an easy one and you should always be ready to adapt and grow as a person.”

A last few students to hear from

Alexis: “It was 9am when we arrived at the dump. When the doors opened for us to exit the bus, I immediately gagged. I experienced the worst smell of my life. The Dominicans and Haitians that worked at the dump walked over to me and the other students that I was with. We were there to interview the workers about what it's like to work at the dump. One of the workers, Luciana, introduced herself to me. She told me that she worked 13 hour shifts scraping through the trash to find valuable metal that she could resell. On a good day, she makes less than $7. She had been working at the dump for over a decade so she could make money to send her 5 kids to school.”

Arie: “After the school visits we realized we didn’t know Italian very well so Antello generously offered to give us some tips and lessons. At the same time I was learning Italian I was learning Arabic because my roommates were from Lebanon and were really cool.”

Cristian: “My trip was amazing. Words honestly cannot describe what I went through during my time in Brazil. Everything that happened over there was completely unexpected and helped me to grow in character and maturity. Through my unbelievable experience I was able to gain insight on the world and the kinds of people around it.”

Thank you so much for supporting our students and their future.

  • Your tax-deductible donations make life- changing experiences possible.

  • Farther Foundation is a 501(C)(3) charitable scholarship organization.

The Board of Directors, Farther Foundation

David Weindling
Susan J. White
Maryanne Woo
Griselda Garibay
Ruth Masters
Laura Swartzbaugh
William Kling
Rozelda Perterson
Paula Rusca

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