In South America’s poorest country of Bolivia, sophomore Trevor Reed knows the impact he made on some of the people who live there.
In the city of Santa Cruz, Reed, his parents and his two siblings helped build a new church to replace a small brick one, which contained mostly younger children, so that more people could attend.
"We helped to teach the kids and support the whole church so that it could grow a lot," said Reed, who spent the past three years in Bolivia before returning to Shores this school year. "A lot of those kids became our friends, and we would look forward to seeing them every week when we went there."
While the church is still undergoing construction, Reed said this experience will always stay with him.
"It was memorable because I built a lot of friendships," Reed said. "And I helped to impact a lot of kids who would otherwise not have anywhere to go."
It all began in sixth grade. Reed’s parents told his older brother, younger sister and him they were moving to Bolivia for missionary purposes.
"When I found out I was going to Bolivia, I was pretty excited," Reed said. "I had never been out of the U.S., and I thought it would be cool to live near my cousins."
The Reed family packed their belongings and moved to Cochabamba, located in the middle of Bolivia, where they lived for one and a half years. From there, they moved to Santa Cruz, about 198 miles east of Cochabamba; there, they lived for two years.
Reed said one of the biggest adjustments was the language barrier.
"It took me only a few months before I could speak Spanish, but it took me at least two years before I could understand it and speak fairly well," Reed said. "I’m not completely fluent, but I can speak pretty well."
Reed’s favorite part of going to Bolivia was the simplicity.
"Life was simple," Reed said. "It wasn’t as busy or rushed like life in the U.S. can be."
Bolivia isn’t as industrialized as the United States.
"Our vacations in Bolivia were fun because there aren’t many tourists, and the places we went were really authentic and undiscovered instead of being just tourist traps," Reed said.
When Reed wasn’t doing missionary work, he was mostly going to a small private school.
"It was a lot smaller compared to Shores," Reed said. "There wasn’t much variety in class choices, and the kids came from many different places."
Outside of school, Reed enjoyed playing guitar and loved playing soccer. Reed, who is on the Shores JV soccer team, will only be at Shores until the end of the school year and said he is excited to be going back to Bolivia.
"Some words of advice are that if you ever get the chance to go somewhere else and experience how life is in other parts of the world, you should definitely take advantage of it," Reed said.