Claudia’s Love Letters

“What is this?” I wondered as I took a small orange envelope out of my mailbox.  It was two weeks before I was to leave again to take a group of students to Belize for a service-learning opportunity.  I walked up my front steps noticing that this envelope was from Claudia a recent alumnus from our Spring trip to Belize.  Claudia had worked in Ms. Wade’s class assisting her with various classroom projects and activities, and helping with our after-school program for the Unity School students.

I had never received anything from a student that had traveled with us previously, so naturally I was curious as to what contents were hidden within the walls of this small orange package.  As I opened the package some dry erase markers fell out and I noticed there was a stack of what looked like letters on different colored paper.  As I inspected the notes, I noticed that Claudia had written me a small sticky note message, “Please take these with you when you go back to Belize.  I believe I got everyone who wrote me a card some of them didn’t have last names so I just put their first names.  Thank you!  Claudia.”

Claudia had received cards from the students in the classroom she worked in and had taken the time to sit down and make hand written notes to each and every child that had given her a card.  She didn’t say the same thing on each note, she took the time to talk about the pictures each child had drawn on the cards they made her and how special they were, she wrote their names on their notes and signed them, “Love, Miss Claudia”

I took those notes to the Unity School upon my return to Belize and gave them to Ms. Wade to distribute to the children.  What you may not know is how impactful this one tiny act was.  These children fight illiteracy daily and by just this one simple action Claudia had continued helping, from her house in north Georgia, to progress literacy skills in these children through them being able to receive this special gift from afar.

Claudia took her commitment to the community in which she had learned so much very seriously.  She knew that after the impact the trip had on her, she must continue to keep that line of communication open and have the children she worked with know that even though she left she was still thinking of them and how she could help them from where she was.

Ardenti takes pride in making sure that the people that travel with us get the most out of their experience and are empowered in the knowledge that they do have an impact and that impact doesn’t have to stop when they step back on U.S. soil.  Claudia is one of our favorite alumni, however we have MANY former students that continue to make an impact in their own ways, some of our former students take additional trips with us to reach other populations that they can learn from, some of our former students have actually joined the Board of Directors of Ardenti Global Service Learning because they believe in our mission so strongly.  We want everyone that travels with us to have a LIFE CHANGING experience.  It is our goal on every.single.trip.

We want you to see what these opportunities feel like, look like, taste like, smell like and sound like; we promise these opportunities appeal to all of your senses and tug at your heart strings!  Our fall trips are registering now and we want you to be a part of one of them here’s what we have going on and take a look at our short film that was done about our work in Belize.

Fall Break trip:  Belize.  10 days.   Travel with us to work with our community partner Unity School and host an after-school program like nothing you’ve ever experienced.  While in Belize, we also see a good portion of the country through excursions such as swimming with sharks and stingrays and a day trip to Placencia village, and we also do excursions that include but are not limited to cave tubing and zip lining and visiting the Mayan ruins.   You will NEVER forget this trip.  It’s been described by many as the “trip of a lifetime!”

Winter Break trip:  Austin.  7 days.   Come along with us to Austin where we work alongside residents of Community First!  A tiny home community for the former chronically homeless.  We will provide workshops on stress and anxiety management and work with residents there while they earn dignified income.  We stay in tiny homes and see sights in San Antonio and travel to NASA in Houston.  It’s a once in a lifetime rewarding adventure.  You’ll be glad you did it!

If you want to join us on any of these fall trips or want to find out more about where else we are going, go to to see where you can #GoPassionately

Think you can’t afford it?  Think again!  Ask about our low monthly payment plan and see if you may qualify for our merit-based scholarship!

 Still don’t believe us??? Don’t take our word for it, take Claudia’s:

“What can I say? I went with Jennifer for 9 days to Belize and had a life changing experience. It confirmed all of my thoughts about being a teacher. I know for sure it is what I want to do now. With Ardenti I got to try out teaching with another teacher in a Belize school it was an amazing experience. Later in the day we got the pleasure of running a after school program where we met the sweetest children and got to help them with what they are learning and school and connect it to games. One of the coolest things I have ever done in my life happen with Jennifer and that’s swimming with sharks 🦈. That was an unreal experience. To top it all off we got to stay at a hostel that made us feel safe and like true travelers. Jennifer is doing amazing work in Belize and I’m so happy I could have been apart of it! I hope to go back one day! Jennifer with Ardenti Global Service Learning is to thank for a true once in a lifetime trip.”

— Claudia Novotny Spring 2019 service learner

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