“Growing up, I experienced two divorces and six moves” – Catlin Cade

School: University of Florida
Year: Graduate Student
House: Hansen

Growing up, I experienced two divorces and six moves. I became envious of “normal” families where the dad was present in the home. I also envied them for their higher socioeconomic status and I dreamed of being a part of a family that was financially stable and living under one roof. It was not until a trip to Haiti that my eyes were opened to all that I really had.In the summer of 2012, I flew to Haiti with my church group. The plan was to have Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the day and lead church services in the evenings for five days. The experience that impacted me the most was visiting an orphanage to bring children of all ages dental supplies and hygiene products. When we arrived, some of the children were without clothes and eating small portions of rice. Once all the children were gathered in one room, we were able to give them paper and stickers to color and decorate. Access to stickers or any games was rare for them. One girl, who was around the age of two, began to cry unexpectedly. I tried to console her, but noticed an untreated sore on her leg. Fortunately, I was able to cover it with Neosporin and a Band-Aid that I had in my backpack. The crying stopped immediately. From that moment to the end of our time at the orphanage, we were inseparable. When I had to leave, it was my turn to cry. I knew I would never see her again.

Our last day in Haiti was just as hard for me. I went to sleep feeling like so little had been done. We were returning to our life of luxury when the people in Haiti still needed more homes, food and clean water. 
 
Haiti changed my life. It increased my cultural awareness and opened my eyes to true poverty in the world. Haiti has given me a deep desire to help populations in poverty-stricken areas. I plan to do this one day by educating teachers and school counselors to help improve their education systems. 
Haiti also gave me a new appreciation for my family and life in America. There are times I feel guilty and even unworthy for all that I have. Then, I remember I have been given what I have in order to give to others. Philippians 2:3 states, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Imagine how different our world would be if everyone put that into practice. One can make difference. It starts with you.
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