07.07.13 / Category: Impact - School Build Projects

Meet a few of our Trek Participants!

CoS_TheTrek_Logo_Dft3-01 2July 17th begins the adventure of a lifetime as 13 college students and two alumnae represent the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation by traveling to Senegal to break ground on a school to educate girls in rural Africa. It’s the end of a journey of raising more than $40,000 but the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for these women. We’ll highlight these special women over the next 2 weeks, today, please meet Lynlee, Kristen, Riley, Emily & Erin:

Lynlee Jackson Jackson Western Kentucky University

Chi Omega

I am Lynlee Jackson and I’m from Western Kentucky University where I hold the position of Panhellenic President! I also am a Chi Omega! When first hearing about the Trek there wasn’t one second that I thought otherwise about going! When the opportunity opened up I just knew that I had to go! I immediately knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would be crazy to pass up! I think I am most excited about making a change in Senegal! I am so excited to be able to make “home” for these women a better place. I am also excited about our team of women making a difference. I have three brothers and all my life I’ve heard that girls can’t do what guys do and this is our chance to prove everyone wrong!I hope to gain a new appreciation for people. I think this will be a very humbling experience and will just be another opportunity for me to be thankful for all I have. I am so excited to learn anything and everything about the Circle of Sisterhood and knowing that I have helped be the change we want to see will be awesome. I have never traveled abroad, visiting only the Bahamas previously for vacations, so this will be a new experience for me.
Kristen KoniewiczKoniewicz

University of Illinois

Kappa Delta

For years now, I have wanted to make an impact abroad. I knew that this opportunity was exactly what I was looking for, a once in a lifetime trip with women from around the country who I could get to meet, learn from, and make a difference with. Africa always seemed like a place where this could all occur, but the plans never fell into place until the Trek. I cannot wait to be submerged in another culture and learn from the people of Senegal.I am most excited to get to meet and work with the Senegalese people. I have never been surrounded by another culture, and I can’t wait to live with my host family. I know that there is a lot to learn from another culture, and I hope we can teach them things about our culture as well. I hope that this experience speaks to me and motivates me to come back and teach others about Circle of Sisterhood Foundation and what I have learned. I used to be in a traveling choir group and we traveled to Italy together in 2007 and England in 2010.
Riley ShipmanShipman

University of South Carolina

Kappa Kappa Gamma

As Sorority Council president and Circle of Sisterhood committee chair at the University of South Carolina, I am so incredibly passionate about the Foundation. As soon as I heard about the Trek, I knew that I wanted to be USC’s representative. I so strongly believe in empowering girls through education and cannot wait to see the impact that sorority women are making throughout the world.I am most excited about staying with our host families and learning about the culture in Senegal. I can’t wait to interact with the Senegalese people and meet the children who will be benefiting from the school. I hope to gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences between cultures. I know this is going to be a life-changing experience and that I’m going to be exposed to so many things that I probably never would have without the Trek. I was born in Montreal, Canada and I traveled to Costa Rica during my sophomore year of high school.
Emily ChristensenChristensenUniversity of Colorado

Delta Delta Delta

When the University of Colorado’s Panhellenic Association announced that they were going to pay for one girl from our school to go to Senegal to build a school I jumped at the opportunity. When I’m done with school I plan to join the Peace Corps or just travel abroad in order to educate women on things that affect our environment, such as overpopulation issues (and birth control) and empower them to start their own businesses so my values definitely line up with Circle of Sisterhood Foundation.There are definitely a few things I’m excited about when it comes to this Trek. First, I’m excited to participate in a homestay – I’ve never done one before and I know they’re extremely powerful experiences. Second, I’m excited to spend time in Senegal and fall in love with the people there! I hope I can gain everything that I can from this experience; a better understanding of a new culture, new friends, and something powerful to bring home with me. Last summer I spent over a month in Kenya volunteering for a school for girls in one of the largest slums in the world. When I was in high school I traveled to Mexico to build a house in Piedras Negras.
Erin Kelly
KellyGeorgia Tech

Alpha Chi Omega

Last summer I studied abroad in Peru and lived with a local family. My host family was amazingly welcoming and my host mother, Señora Alvarez, was one of the most inspiring women I know. She invited me to come to work with her and meet her work friends. Not knowing what to expect, I agreed. We arrived at a home in a rundown area of the city. Señora Alvarez introduced me to about 15 young girls between the ages of 10-16. The first girl I saw was about 12 years old and was breast feeding a young baby. Most of these girls had children resulting from rape and all of them had been abused. Señora Alvarez teaches these girls how to sew so that they have a practical skill to use to support themselves. Before this experience, I could have defined Circle of Sisterhood but the power of the mission hit home for me when I walked through that door. When I learned about The Trek at the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference I felt called to be a part of it because I wanted to truly be an active sister in the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. I want to use my talents and blessings to give women around the world the hope of a better life.I have always been fascinated by new and different cultures and I think that The Trek will be an opportunity for me to learn about a new culture that is very different than anything I have experienced to date. I look forward to learning about the community and forming relationships with the local people. I believe this will be a unique opportunity to get to know Panhellenic leaders from across the country.This trip will be inspiration to continue to motivate sorority women to help communities such as the one I have the opportunity to be a part of for a week. I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world through school trips, study abroad programs and with my family. Some of the countries that I have traveled to include: Spain, Ireland, England, Scotland, China, and Peru.